In contrast with most countries in the world, the main political factions in the United States have very different views of climate change. Somehow, one side of the aisle remains skeptical about the changing climate even as temperature records are broken, arctic ice disappears, and powerful storms become increasingly common.
But putting aside the increasingly inexplicable political schism about climate change, there are instances where the consequences of the warming climate are not all dire. In fact, there are places where climate change is having a positive effect.
One such place is West Virginia, where research studies are finding a real upside to the changing climate.
A recent study of the climate in West Virginia over the period from 1900 to 2016 found the maximum temperatures trended downward, average minimum temperatures ascended, and annual precipitation increased. On average, West Virginians are now seeing cooler summers, warmer winters and wetter weather.
Given these changes, there have been big changes in agriculture. Yields of important crops like hay, corn, winter wheat, and soybeans have all increased. The winter season has shrunk by as much as 20 days and the growing season itself has increased by approximately 13 days. A number of crops that historically did not fare well in West Virginia may now become viable. It may even be possible to pursue double cropping, meaning that the longer growing season may allow farmers to raise one crop, harvest it, and then raise and harvest a second crop within the same year.
In the big picture, climate change is shaping up as a global calamity, but for a few people in certain places – such as West Virginia – it may have some real upside.
Photo, posted November 12, 2014, courtesy of Mike via Flickr.