Growing season extension another bellwether of climate change

The first daffodils of the new year burst into flower in mid-January after a period of mild weather. The buds on some of our trees and shrubs are swelling too, waking up for spring, although they might be nipped by frost this week.

Daffodils in January

The weather swings wildly from mild to cold at this time of year in mid-Atlantic states, according to the flow coming from the warm Gulf or frigid Canada. A century of temperature records for the Williamsburg area show huge standard deviations for the interval between last frost of winter and first fall frost. The growing season here is 30 days longer than it was as recently as the 1980s, and the maximum summer temperature in the past couple of decades mirrors the new peaks in national data. A longer growing season helps farmers and gardeners, but for every gain there is a pain—more exposure to ticks and invasive plants, and shrinking habitat for beneficial birds, etc.

growing season and climate change
Extension of growing season in Williamsburg, VA

Next post: Coping with grief from climate change

By Roger Gosden

A British and American scientist specializing in reproduction & embryology whose career spanned from Cambridge to Cornell's Weill Medical College in NYC. He married Lucinda Veeck, the embryologist for the first successful IVF team in America. They retired to Virginia, where he became a master naturalist and writer affiliated with William & Mary.

1 comment

  1. Dear Roger

    Thank you for this!

    We all must keep writing about these important observations. Naturalists may be more necessary than ever, given how few other people look up, down, or all around. Best,

    Madeline Vann, NCC, M.Ed., RYT200 Resident in Counseling Cell: 985 285 5185


Your Reply is Appreciated