Michigan crops more at risk with climate change

Feb 13, 2013

ANN ARBOR, MI (AP)--   Scientists say as the climate gets warmer, Michigan may experience more of the spring thaw-and-freeze patterns that devastated fruit crops last year. 

The prediction came as experts outlined the likely effects of climate change on the Midwest during a conference Tuesday in Ann Arbor.

Michigan state climatologist Jeff Andresen said the risk has risen in recent decades of early spring warm-ups that cause trees to emerge from winter dormancy too soon. If the thaws are followed by late freezes, it can kill buds and ruin crops.

That happened last year, when most of Michigan's tart cherries and apples were ruined.

The report says farmers may be able to adjust to climate change in the short term, but will find it increasingly hard to deal with extreme heat and drought.