Friday, June 22, 2007

So who needs winter anyway?

Now we can grow things year round! (Ignore the killer heat waves and the drought in Romania....)
Last autumn-winter season was Europe's warmest for more than 700 years, researchers say.
Separately, the temperatures experienced during autumn 2006 and winter 2007 are likely to have been the warmest in 500 years, they say. But the sequential combination of two such warm seasons is a still rarer event – probably the first since 1289.

In that year, people in western and central Europe wrote accounts of what they viewed as extremely unusual events.

"Documents report for instance that strawberries were eaten at Christmas, and the [vineyards] produced leaves, stock and even blossoms in the middle of January, and in Vienna fruit trees were flowering like in May," Luterbacher told New Scientist, adding: "This was really extreme, so maybe it can be compared to today in western and central Europe."

Similar unusual events have also been noticed in this recent warm period. For instance, hazel trees and snowdrops in Germany blossomed a full 30 days earlier than at any time in the last 50 years in spring 2007. And in 2006, horse chestnut trees in Switzerland blossomed twice instead of their usual once. "This is really an exceptionally rare event," says Luterbacher.

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