A "good enough" mom muses about alpha moms, adoption, computers, the State Of The World, Internet quirkiness, and the Kosmik All
Zoning out

I grew up with gardeners; I live with a gardener.  Great Grandma won accolades for her flowers in the gardening club in Jacksonville; I can still remember her hydrangea gardens, the shrimp plant, the honeysuckle, the roses.  My mom had a different approach to gardening; her gardens have always been much more on the wild side.  At one point, someone in our neighborhood called the city on my folks, because OmegaGranny's approach to the lawn was to let the grass grow as much as possible then go to seed, because it was much more natural.

OmegaDad, who at one point made a living as a landscaper, with his own (huge!) greenhouse, has taken each and every one of our living places and turned it into beauty.  I still remember the beautiful garden he made in our house in Prescott Valley--we had the world's best collection of plant-napped penstemon which bloomed with great abundance in the heat of summer.

So I'm very familiar with hardiness zone maps.  Take a look at this one, developed by the USDA and published in 1990:

In the midst of all the holiday chaos, there was a bit of news that didn't gather much attention.  The National Arbor Day Foundation released a new hardiness zone map in mid-December.  I found out about this one due to a link from one of my GoodBlogs sites (see the little GoodBlogs widget in the right-hand column).  Unfortunately, I don't remember which one, sorry!  Anyway, this is the new map:

Here's a kewl animation of the shifting of the zones, if you want to see it, and here's a map of the differences.  Note the cool striping effect; this is because all the shifting took place (of course) at the edges of the zones.  There were a very few small spots, mostly in the western U.S., that showed colder zonage.

(My husband reports that the USDA published a new map about a year ago, but his commentary is that "It's bogus.  It's the same map as 1990, just more detail.  Another Bush Administration map.")

This week, there was reportage that the head economist of Chrysler Corporation pooh-poohed global warming.  He was, at least, speaking only of the economic effects; I surely hope he wasn't speaking of the scientific validity, because I don't think an economist would be a very good judge of that.

At the same time, NOAA reported that 2006 was the warmest year in 112 years of U.S. recordkeeping.

The Ayles Ice Shelf, one of the six largest ice shelfs in the Canadian Arctic, broke off entirely last August, an event powerful enough to register on seismometers 150 miles away.

The National Center for Atmospheric Research recently produced a climactic model that accurately reproduced the expansion and contraction of ice over the Arctic Ocean for the 20th century (based on recordkeeping).  When they pushed it further out, they found that this model showed the summer minimum of Arctic ice vanishing to just about nothing by 2049.  (Here's the large size animation.)

A recent article (which I can't find) attributed the higher urgency level about global warming in Europe versus the United States to the fact that most of Europe shares a common climate--flooding in, say, Germany, is likely to affect Poland and Austria as well--whereas the U.S. is so large that it encompasses many different climate regions--so disastrously warm weather in one area may be balanced out by equally disastrous cold weather in another.  So, any changes that are occurring occur to multiple nations in Europe, whereas there's no consensus in the U.S.

It could always be a natural cycle.  But given the data on human-caused changes to the atmosphere, would it not be likely that, if it is a natural cycle, we are enhancing/increasing it?

Anyway.  As I eagerly await the first Big Snow of the year (supposedly.  But we do have a Real Live Snow and Blowing Snow Advisory for 12 p.m. tonight to 12 p.m. tomorrow, woohoo!), it's the little things that get me.  Like that change in hardiness zones. 

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posted by Kate @ 1/11/2007 08:35:00 PM  
  • At 1/11/2007 09:12:00 PM, Blogger Carol Anne said…

    Oh my God. I'm now zoned like Des Moines. What do I tell my Canadian Roses, if they live through the (non)winter.

    This rose gardener is thoroughly depressed.

  • At 1/11/2007 10:13:00 PM, Anonymous Babette said…

    The word has it that there is another 10 years of ski at Tahoe and then... that's it!

    Check out Al Gore's speech about Global Warming on Social Innovation Conversations: www.siconversations/shows/detail1040.html

    Al Gore isn't a scientist but put a lot of evidence together to convince even the most sceptics that there is a problem and that we are at least partially responsible for it.

  • At 1/12/2007 08:56:00 AM, Blogger kaliroz said…

    The little things get me too. Like the fact that the cherry blossoms are out all ready. Or that trees that shouldn't be budding are.

    Sure, it could be a natural cycle. But it could be a natural cycle of warmth we've kick-started and that may not swing back the other way.

    Global warming is scary.

  • At 1/12/2007 11:13:00 AM, Blogger Space Mom said…

    I read about this yesterday. I prefer the term "Global Climate Change" because it makes you stop and think about when we have "Freak" ice storms and not just warm weather.....

  • At 1/12/2007 11:50:00 AM, Blogger MomEtc. said…

    The thing scares the heck outta me. we've got to act now. I'm trying to read up more on the subject. A co-worker recommended Al Gore's book, which I think I'll read.

  • At 1/12/2007 07:34:00 PM, Blogger Granny J said…

    You mention the ticket I got for weeds, dotter-- it weren't the unmowed grass. I always figured it was because I discovered that milkweed flowers were pretty about 40 years before the nurseries did. But then that's Chicago for you.

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Name: OmegaMom
Home: Southwest
About Me: Middle-aged mom of a 4-year-old adopted from China. Love science, debate, good SF and fantasy, hiking, music of almost every style. Lousy housekeeper. "Good enough" mom.
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