Record-High Winter Temperatures Have Some Sweating About Climate Change

Several 60- and 70-degree days in late February broke records all over the Northeast, and it’s part of an overall trend that’s racking up more record-high temperatures than lows.

“Although I do enjoy temperatures being warmer, and I enjoy being outside, I do think that it’s a wakeup call,” says Pittsburgh resident Erin McCormick. “What’s it going to be like years from now? How bad is it going to get? You know, are the glaciers going to melt in Antarctica? And then what?”

Fears about the uncertainty of climate change were also on Michael Svoboda’s mind recently. He’s a writing professor at George Washington University and former bookseller, and he’s compiled a reading list about climate and psychology for Yale Climate Connections. The books range from how psychoanalytic theory is used to understand how people engage with threats from global warming to learning how to cope with a changing world. And he says there are actually a lot of titles on this topic.

“Dealing with climate change — and solving the problem of climate change — is as much a social, psychological, behavioral problem as it is a scientific [or] technological problem,” Svoboda says. “So we’re getting books that are dealing with the human psyche as a big part of the equation of climate change. That is both how you get humans to change their behavior, and a growing recognition that this is already having impacts and so how we deal with that.”

Get Michael Svoboda’s climate change reading list here.

Reporting by Kara Holsopple

 

How a Warm Winter is Impacting Farmers

The above-average winter temperatures have some food producers double checking the calendar.

March is usually prime season for boiling maple sap into syrup. But at Nathan Goodell’s farm in northeastern Ohio, instead of gearing up for syrup production, the sugar shack is winding down.

“This year we’re going to finish about as early as we ever have,” Goodell says.

Area orchards are also watching the warm weather. Plum and apricot trees are close to blooming, which is about a month ahead of schedule. And if the weather turns colder, some growers could lose their crops.

“The danger is we may get a frost,” says Penn State fruit tree specialist Rich Marini. “If we get a frost when they’re in bloom, it kills the flower. And the flower contains the developing fruit.”

But Marini says peach and apple trees aren’t too far along yet. And if it doesn’t get too warm in March, those trees might be able to delay budding until spring arrives in earnest.

Reporting by Julie Grant