Climate change threatens Florida fruit crop
A study by the University of Central Florida warns that climate change could alter the state's growing seasons and permanently destroy its citrus fruit industry.
The research was published Wednesday in the peer-reviewed journal PloS ONE.
"The weather in Florida has been getting wacky," said lead author Betsy Von Holle, an assistant professor of biology at the university.
The research team studied 50 years of data that looked at changes in climate and the flowering times of 70 plant species in Florida.
They found a rise in the state's overall temperature and wider temperature swings between winter and summer, with more frequent freezing in the winter.
"And that's definitely having an impact beyond simple temperature changes. If the trend continues, it may affect everything from when we start seeing flowers and birds migrating to what foods we can grow," she said.
Van Holle warns that subtropical crops such as oranges, which depend on mild winters and springs, could get squeezed out of Florida.