BELMONT, N.Y. — A serious but often overlooked result of climate change is the shifting of weather patterns. It’s the patterns that determine the day to day weather. Let’s look at one: the path of the Jet Stream and how it determines events like the polar vortex.
We only discovered its existence when we began to fly cross country at 30,000 feet. Have you ever wondered why the flight to California takes 8 hours while coming home takes only 7? The J.S. flows west to east and like a boat caught in the river’s current, it moves your plane along with it. I wonder how long it would have taken ol’Ben to figure it out?!
This Gulf Steam in the sky travels around the Earth at about 50 degrees N. Latitude (think hoola hoop). This “hoop” undulates like the flight of a Gold Finch – every 3,000 miles a high point, then a low. Areas on the ground or sea below an upswing have warm air drawn in. Those below a down swing are colder (last year’s Polar Vortex). This also explains why places 6,000 miles apart (New York and Moscow) have similar weather in a given year. NY and California at 3,000 miles usually have opposite weather.
As global warming increases, these ups and downs increase bringing colder and hotter weather.
America’s original wealth rested in her soil – the rich farm land of the Midwest. The bread basket of the world. As our climate warms, this belt will shift North onto the Canadian Shield. I have driven 1,000 miles through this area and I tell you, you won’t be growing much of anything there no matter how favorable the climate.
So, let’s hope our agronomists can genetically alter our corn, soy-beans and wheat to handle the change in climate patterns and with the “new normal” weather, they can produce.
–MaryLu Wells, Allegany County’s Master Gardener