As gardeners we all lust after the plants growing just one or two zones south of us. It matters not if we are in Canada or Mexico we want the plants on the other side of the fence. If this study is correct and holds true for the Tropic of Cancer, then the edge of the tropical zone is moving from Havana, Cuba north to somewhere between Brownsville and Corpus Christi.
Geographically, the tropical region is a wide swath around Earth’s middle stretching from the Tropic of Cancer, just south of Miami, to the Tropic of Capricorn, which cuts Australia almost in half. It’s about one-quarter of the globe and generally thought of as hot, steamy and damp, but it also has areas of brutal desert.To meteorologists, however, the tropics region is defined by long-term climate and what’s happening in the atmosphere. Recent studies show changes that indicate an expansion of the tropical atmosphere.
The newest study, published Sunday in the new scientific journal Nature Geoscience, shows that by using the weather definition, the tropics are expanding toward Earth’s poles more than predicted. And that means more dry weather is moving to the edges of the tropics in places like the U.S. Southwest.
So it may be good news or bad news depending on what you like to plant. It is likely the Houston area will get a bit warmer. It is too soon to tell if we will get more, less or the same rainfall as things shift and change.
* Note: This does not mean we should not reduce our CO2 emissions. Of course we should clean the planet up and keep it clean. That’s just common sense.