KROPP: “It’s every fruit-growers nightmare to have the combination of an early bloom with potential cold-fronts coming through later on in the season.”

Cherry blossoms

That’s Kevin Kropp, whose cherry trees on the western slope of Colorado began blooming about three weeks earlier than usual this past spring.

Nolan Doesken, State Climatologist for Colorado, has studied more than 100 years of weather station data, and says there’s a distinct warming trend.

DOESKEN: “What’s the cause? Well, it’s always hard to say in light of the fact that we’ve had ups and downs in the past, but it’s certainly consistent with what’s expected with the ever-increasing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.”

Doesken says this warming trend is especially strong in spring.

DOESKEN: “But that doesn’t mean there won’t be, embedded in that warm spring some cold spells and cold waves.”

A sudden freeze can wreak havoc on an orchard. So when temperatures suddenly drop, fruit farmers have to prevent frost from killing their crops. Some are using fans to circulate air around the buds or even small heaters – techniques that may be needed more often as the climate changes.

This episode of Climate Connections was produced in partnership with iSeeChange.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media and iSeeChange/Jake Ryan (KVNF).
Photo: Copyright protected.

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