Climate Change Was: Is there a U.S. version of phytosanitary requirement

J.E. Shields
Thu, 14 Jan 2010 11:13:15 PST
Pamela and all,

That is a good blog written by Cliff Mass.  Sensible and realistic.  Thanks 
for pointing it out.

I'm not a climatologist; I'm a biochemist.  Still, I took some 
thermodynamics a very long time ago.  There is nothing contradictory in the 
weather we are seeing just now and the proposition that we humans are 
warming the climate unnaturally.  The Earth's atmosphere-ocean system is a 
huge heat engine.  The gasoline or diesel engine in your car or truck is a 
much simpler heat engine.  Both sorts of "engine" are governed by 

The data are irrefutable:  The earth's atmosphere and oceans are warming at 
a rate much faster than the history of the last 1,000,000 years or so 
suggest they should be.  The difference between 100,000 years ago and today 
is the presence and consequences of about 6 billion additional members of 
the species Homo sapiens.

Why are some parts of North America and Europe colder this winter?  Because 
the Earth's atmospheric engine is accelerating, fueled by the extra heat 
accumulating under our CO2 blanket.  The more energy you put into a system, 
the farther away from equilibrium you can drive it.  Give the engine more 
energy, and you can drive it up steeper gradients.  The jet stream loops 
north in Alaska and south in the Midwest, when it should be somewhere in 
between,  It is being driven away from equilibrium.

We are driving the atmosphere and ocean to reward us with hotter summers, 
only occasionally colder winters, more and drier droughts and deadlier 
floods.  It's getting more energetic and therefore more extreme.  We still 
have the accelerator pedal pressed hard against the floorboard.

Global climate change is going to affect what plants we can grow, where and 
how we grow them.  I expect to see more extinctions of rare plant 
species.  I might eventually have to spend more to cool my greenhouses in 
summer than I do now to heat them in my Indiana winters, if I live a few 
decades more (you can see that I'm very optimistic about progress in 
biomedical science).

This is a good time to experiment more with growing plants not normally 
hardy in your climate, while planning future precautions to protect the 
ones now living happily in your garden or woods.

Jim Shields

At 09:47 AM 1/14/2010 -0800, you wrote:
>Not to hijack the plant discussion, but since you ask about cold events and
>global warming, I recommend  Cliff Mass is a
>University of Washington atmospheric scientist who communicates clearly.  He
>is a scientist, not an ideologue.  Try these 2009 postings: January 5,
>August 9, 17, and 22, December 15 and 21.  These should answer your

Jim Shields             USDA Zone 5             Shields Gardens, Ltd.
P.O. Box 92              WWW:
Westfield, Indiana 46074, USA
Tel. ++1-317-867-3344     or      toll-free 1-866-449-3344 in USA

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