Here in Mid Michigan we are accustomed to unpredictable and extreme weather. However, 2012 marked a year of historic proportions in terms of crazy weather for us. I recently came across an excellent article discussing this topic called “Weather 2012: One for the Record Books” by Dr. Bert Cregg of the Michigan State University Department of Horticulture and Department of Forestry.
Dr. Cregg conducts research and extension programs on management and physiology of trees in landscape, nursery and Christmas tree systems. “Weather 2012: One for the Record Books” was first published in the January/February 2013 issue of The Michigan Landscape™ magazine, a bimonthly publication of the Michigan Nursery & Landscape Association (MNLA).
In his article Dr. Cregg gives a fascinating recap of our extreme weather during 2012 and its effect on the landscape. He describes the “heat wave” of March, followed by a series of April freezes, and the devastating effects of this combination on Michigan’s landscapes and fruit crops. He also talks about the effects of the state-wide drought conditions during the summer brought on by record high temperature and little rain.
According to Dr. Cregg, how the crazy weather of 2012 will impact landscapes in 2013 remains to be seen. There’s no doubt that many landscapes will need replanting. However, as to whether the cumulative effects of the late frost followed by the severe heat and drought will predispose plants to increased injury this winter depends on what kind of winter we get.
As for whether the extremes of 2012 are indicative of permanent changes in our weather pattern, Dr. Cregg thinks not and points out that the record temperatures of March and July can be traced to brief and unusual jet-stream patterns. However, he also points out that there is growing evidence that temperatures are increasing in general, especially winter low temperatures.
To read “Weather 2012: One for the Record Books” click here. It is reprinted by permission of Dr. Bert Cregg and the MNLA.