Adapting to a Changing Climate

Heavy precipitation, strong winds, high temperatures, and extended periods of drought have an adverse affect on fruit and vegetable production.  The high tunnel’s plastic barrier, solar thermal heating and cooling system, and drip irrigation all reduce the threat posed by weather and temperature extremes, providing yet another adaptive strategy to changing environmental conditions.

According to both NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2010 tied for 2005 as the hottest year on record, and was part of the warmest decade on record.  The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) also recently reported that daily record high temperatures occurred twice as often as record lows over the last decade across the continental United States. The ratio of record highs to lows is likely to increase dramatically in coming decades if emissions of greenhouse gases continue to climb.

A solid body of scientific evidence points to all that extra warming leading to more weather extremes and many industries are starting to take notice.  Munich Re, one of the world’s leading reinsurers, issued a news release in late September 2010 that stated, “Floods in central Europe, wildfires in Russia, widespread flooding in Pakistan. The number and scale of weather-related natural catastrophe losses in the first nine months of 2010 was exceptionally high….it would seem that the only plausible explanation for the rise in weather-related catastrophes is climate change."