climate in crisis

Climate Focus: Average Normal Temperatures on the Rise

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently updated climate normal temperatures, which gives an average for each location over the past 30 years and how that compares to the past 30-year normal temperatures. It was not surprising that it’s been warming up.

For San Jose, the new normal is 1.8 degrees warmer and San Francisco is 1.6 degrees warmer. Those shifts in temperatures can have huge implications on our microclimates and the types of plants that can grow.

David Ackerly, dean of Rausser College at UC Berkeley, is a biologist who focuses on the impacts of climate change on biodiversity.

"Those climate zones will shift, and it will be possible to grow things that in the past would have been hit by an occasional frost, especially in the interior," Ackerly said. "We don’t have that much frost near the ocean. So occasionally those maps come out and say you’re in a new zone now, and you can plant new plants."

Ackerly also said due to the ongoing drought and warming, our trees are facing a high amount of stress, which could add more fuels to wildfires in the future.

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