Conservation & sustainability, Food security, Management, Media

Five of the past six years have been the warmest in Bakersfield’s recorded history / January 15, 2020

Daniel Sumner, an ag economist at UC Davis, said researchers across the state are busy studying the changing patterns of California’s Mediterranean climate.

“We don’t look at the average annual temperature,” he said. “It’s not that interesting.”

When it comes to the effect climate change could have on the Central Valley — California’s fruit basket — Sumner said researchers aren’t seeing changes in summertime high temperatures. Instead, they’re seeing increases in wintertime lows.

The warmer nights are a “big deal,” he said.

Not only do warmer nights limit the all-important chilling hours for some of the valley’s most valuable crops, it opens the door to damaging pests.

“Winter cold controls some pests.”

But the “big headline,” Sumner said, is this: “Winter snow might fall as rain. If that happens, we aren’t ever going to have enough reservoir space for it.”

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