Winter Heat Threatens Calif. Fruit, Nut Crops
California's famously fertile Central Valley -- home to a $9 billion industry that provides much of the United States' supply of fruit and nut crops -- may be teetering on the edge of a climate-induced disaster, according to a new study.
A team lead by Eike Luedeling of University of California, Davis used a computer simulation of past and future climates in the 400-mile long valley to predict what impact future, human-induced global warming could have on fruit and nut tree farmers.
Fruit trees need cold winter weather almost as much as they need warm summer sunshine. If it doesn't get cold enough, trees stay dormant later into the spring, and flower erratically. As a result fruit crops may not be fully matured at harvest time, or there may be nothing to pick at all.