Texas, for all of its size and complexity of vegetative and ecological zones, is a bell-weather for continental climate change. For some reason, this state is very sensitive to climate change and will be closely monitored by the world--if not the authorities in the capitol, Austin.
For those of us who happen to look for signs of climate change, they are there…not just drought or extremely cold winter or record heat in summer. Those events are weather phenomenon and can easily be argued one way or the other. I wonder how long the ordinary red-neck in his pickup can keep getting weather and climate confused?
Here we are, ending a record cold winter. It is still February, yet look at what is happening to my peach trees today!
They’ve had their 400 hours of “chill,” and they have had their 3 days when temperatures have risen to 70oF, and now they are popping. Pink showing up in February in the worst winter since they were planted! They have never done this before. They would normally flower in April although flowering has moved up into March of late.
These trees were planted 15 years ago knowing, as I already did back then, that climate change would drive our hardiness zone up at least one zone which would mean 2oF of warming in Texas. These trees are for the old hardiness Zone 9, which means more than half a zone change has occurred already. What is most disturbing is that this rapid change has happened in my life-time! I am watching it in my own backyard! The 70 odd fruit trees on my East Texas land should not bloom now, but the pink doesn’t lie. They are responding to global warming and the climate change it drives. There is no other explanation.
If you want to read more about this climate change indicator in a scientific study done in Britain recently, here’s a link: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/warming_spurs_plants_to_earlier_activity_20140203
Jack London in his short story, To Build a Fire, tells about a trapper in the North on an extremely cold morning listening to his dogs whine and the wind howl, warning him not to go outside. Yet he still decides to go out and check his fur traps. Nothing must interfere with the bottom line for this guy! The rule of the North is that, if you spit and your spit freezes before it hits the snow, you will not survive. This tough trapper steps outside, spits and watches it freeze in mid-air. He ignores the sign, runs his traps, falls in the river, starts to freeze, builds a fire--which the fir tree douses. And then he peacefully freezes to death. The stars twinkle with laughter over the scene. London’s last line is this: “He died because he was the kind of man who saw things, but he did not ask what they mean!”