5 reasons why early spring isn’t that great

פורסם: 9 במאי 2012, 8:50 על ידי: Sustainability Org   [ עודכן 9 במאי 2012, 8:50 ]

03/29/2012 //  , Science and Solutions Director

The weather has been almost perfect this month across much of the U.S. and Canada. Not too wet, not too cold – in other words, oddly nice for March. But while it has been lovely to shed winter layers (not that we really needed them anyway), early spring has its downsides too. Today’s New York Times took a look at how climate change impacts weather like this spring’s “weather weirding” on its front page: here’s a quick look at why early spring isn’t always a good thing.

  1. It’s getting harder (and more expensive) to plan ahead

    © 2008 Flickr/DanielRothamel CC by 2.0

    Event planners and property managers across the U.S. are grappling with the stresses of an early spring. In Chicago, apartment managers are scrambling to service air conditioning units to keep residents comfortable. In Minnesota, the state government isn’t staffed up yet to make much-needed boat ramp and dock repairs. And as the cherry trees in D.C. bloom earlier and earlier, the city faces an increasing risk of mismatch between peak blooming and the annual (and lucrative) Cherry Blossom Festival.
  2. Pollen, pollen everywhere
    Those of us with hay fever are suffering a little earlier this year, as record-breaking March temperatures push pollen counts sky-high. But don’t worry. At least the pharmaceutical companies are happy.
  3. More pests – and more toxic chemicals to control them

    © 2009 Flickr/Mick Talbot CC by 2.0

    Mosquitoes are making an early appearance from Michigan to Alabama, and city crews are already spraying chemicals to kill them. The warm spring may also make fire ants more active across the South and extend the Lyme disease season in the Northeast.
  4. Less water, or less clean water
    Officials in the Western U.S. fret that a warm, dry spring on the heels of a warm, dry winter bodes ill for hydropower plants that depend on major river systems. In contrast, Lake Erie is full of sediment, washed into the lake by early spring run-off.
  5. Lower crop yields

    © 2009 Flickr/gorfor CC by 2.0

    An early spring can be good for some crops, like wheat. But early heat is shortening the spring crop season in places like Kentucky. And apple-growers in Iowa, Wisconsin and New York are losing sleep as they contemplate the risk of frost damage to early-flowering trees.

As the world warms because of carbon pollution, spring may become less and less familiar. Or, as Yogi Berra is famously credited with saying, “The future ain’t what it used to be.” How are springs – or your spring plans – changing in your neighborhood?