Mangrove Trees spreading north in Florida

arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)December 31, 2013

"Cold-sensitive mangrove forests have expanded dramatically along Florida's Atlantic Coast as the frequency of killing frosts has declined, according to a new study based on 28 years of satellite data from the University of Maryland and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Edgewater, Maryland.

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Here is a link that might be useful: Mangrove Trees

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salicaceae(z8b FL)

Neat story - but it is missing a few details. Florida was much warmer during the 19th century and presumably before than during the 20th and 21st centuries (for the most part, until the last couple of decades). There are quite a few native species that were pushed 100 miles south during the 20th century. For example, early records indicate that there were Royal palms growing along the St. John's River in central Florida and there were also several species of terrestrial orchids that are no longer found this far north. The commercial citrus growing areas were 100s of miles further north. Severe freezes in the late 1800s and especially in the 1960s and again in the 1980s pushed the area where citrus could be grown commercially to south of Orlando. I have historical photos of Gainesville (where I live) with commercial citrus groves in the background. No way would they be able to do that now. There also used to be big Casuarinas and queen palms in town - there are none now as they were killed by freezes in the 1960s and 1980s. However, the 1990s and 2000s are warmer and now these tender species are creeping north again. Certainly another 1980s type freeze event will knock them back south again. I remember just a couple of years ago in 2011 the sea grapes were damaged severely at its northern limits. I am NOT arguing that climate change isn't allowing plants to change their distributions, but just stating that with these sensitive plants at the edges of their ranges there is a certain degree of oscillation that has already been recorded and not to get too excited about this. Seeing Kudzu in NE Ohio this past summer did get me a bit worried, though.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 9:58PM
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arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)

Well I don't know too much of the flora of Florida, so I will certainly yeild to your local knowledge. I posted it as I eimply thought some here would find it of interest. I remember in the early seventies when I was a tiny fellow, dead Chinaberry Trees were common. Had not seen them for many years in my trips back. BUT in the last 6-8 years, they are springing up all over the place again. Climate is variable. There are many cycles that influence climate over decades. These changes influence species ranges and ecology. IMHO the current crazy in weather that has happened locally over the last 5-8 years is a combo of climate change and a repeat of the cycles from the 30's and 50's. What the future holds climatewise is uncertain at best.


    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 11:55PM
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beng(z6 western MD)

Hmm. And sugar maples and northern basswood here are invading southeast from the northwest. Factors other than climate are in effect.

As Salic hints at, Florida isn't getting warmer -- severe cold damage to flora & fauna have occurred there just recently, including orange groves.

And Salic, the loblolly pine you traded to me yrs ago has turned into a very handsome 20'+ tree & sheds snow & ice surprisingly well. Happy New Year!

    Bookmark   January 1, 2014 at 9:40AM
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Although I think climate change/global warming is a real issue, I don't know if this particular growth in mangrove is climate-change related. For starters, the pace of temperature change (and other changes) has not been consistent across the country. The biggest increases have been in the Northeast and Southwest. Florida (and much of the Southeast have lagged behind...if not gotten cooler). Additionally, there has been the recent noted phenomenon of abnormal cold penetrating deep into the subtropics with the jet stream carrying arctic air as far south as Cuba or into India. Climate change issues aside, Florida offers quite a contrast in climate, with subarctic cold in the north and a subtropical south. But given the flatness of the state, surprising chilly air masses occasionally infiltrate the southern, interior portions of the state (surprised me for sure!), with milder conditions restricted to the Keys and the extreme coastal southeastern parts of the state...sure that the urban, heat island effect contributes some to that (and the Gulf Stream). In any event, Mangrove forests are awesome ecosystems and hope Florida's continue to expand.

Happy New Year all!!

Here is a link that might be useful: Unequal heating of US states

    Bookmark   January 1, 2014 at 12:19PM
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I believe the best comments on Global warning came from one of the scientist who is on the ship stuck in the ice in Antarctica. This scientist was still spouting the same global warming mantra as Al Gore.

I find his comment interesting as this is the summer months in Antarctica. The ice sheet expanded rapidly trapping the ship and I believe the ship is now over thirteen miles from the edge of the ice. The new ice is over 10 feet thick, too much for the Ice breakers sent to rescue the ship. If global warming was valid the ship should not be stuck.

If you check the scientific articles you will also find the ice in the Arctic is expanding. Throw in the fact presented by salicaceae and the cold weather the world has had in the last few year, just about shoots down the idea of raising sea levels and global warming

Global Warming is the Phlogiston theory of the 21st century.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2014 at 4:37PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

>If you check the scientific articles you will also find the ice in the Arctic is expanding. Throw in the fact presented by salicaceae and the cold weather the world has had in the last few year, just about shoots down the idea of raising sea levels and global warmingA knuttle must be a large land bird that sticks its head in holes in the ground - and leaves it there.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2014 at 8:40PM
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salicaceae(z8b FL)

Again, I didn't mean to make this a GW debate. I am just stating that the dynamics of species' range expansions and contractions in Florida in particular are more complex than that article would imply.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2014 at 9:54PM
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It will be interesting to see how next week's Arctic blast plays out in Florida. It is looking more and more like freezing temperatures will be possible if not likely. Biggest unknown is how far south the freezing temps will surge.

Pic is via Ryan Maue at Wx bell. If you want to reuse the pic, please cite him as the source.

This image is based on GFS 00z run this morning. 06z was even colder. Euro has been frigid as well...

This post was edited by j0nd03 on Thu, Jan 2, 14 at 8:11

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 7:38AM
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arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)

For those that don't know. John is speaking of the various long term weather models that longer term forecasting is based upon. Euro is the European Model that runs twice daily out to 10 days time. GFS is the American model and runs 4 times daily out to 15-16 days. The 00z and 06z refers to the time the model was run. So 00Z was midnight GMT (the global standard) which is based on a city in the UK. There are other shorter range models that come in to play as a weather event approaches, but these two are the primary longer range models beyond about 3 days. No model is without fault, and they frequently disagree.

John and I discuss these models in relation to our regions weather frequently.


    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 8:56AM
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beng(z6 western MD)

For a detailed discussion on the FL mangroves, see below:

Here is a link that might be useful: FL mangroves

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 9:28AM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Yup, looking at least possible that we in the DC area might break our stretch of almost 20 yrs w/o a subzero reading at any of the three major airports.

Most likely to happen at Dulles (which did hit zero in Jan '09 but hasn't been below zero since '96), but if that map John posted pans out, could happen at BWI as well.

It would take a HUGE event (like Jan '85 or Jan '94) to break zero at DCA (Reagan National) though, since it sits in a swampy low area right on the Potomac. That airport routinely runs about the warmest in the area by several degrees.

Global warming aside, it does seem that we run in approximately 30-40 years cycles - there were very few DEEP, widespread subzero freeze events in the Eastern US in the 1930s through the 50s (with the exception of a couple notably cold winters), but the 60s, 70s, and 80s had many, and the 90s a couple. That same trend was true prior as well as, I seem to remember reading that in the 1800s, they grew oranges, at least in private property, if not commercially, around Jacksonville and possibly even S. GA.

As far as Kudzu in NE Ohio (my native stomping grounds) - wow. Although as recently as '09 it was in the middle negative teens there one night. I think part of Kudzu's issue is we don't truly know how hardy it is (same goes for most Asian plants, many of which turn out to be far hardier than we'd expect them to be). I've seen -15F as a bottom end for Kudzu recently, so NE Ohio would be about the limit - and even there it would get knocked out every decade or so.

This post was edited by hairmetal4ever on Thu, Jan 2, 14 at 9:57

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 9:31AM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

FYI that map seems to suggest the 0F line pretty much runs with where zones 6/7 meet on the "new" USDA map, at least in the eastern half of the country.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 9:36AM
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salicaceae(z8b FL)

Thanks for the link Beng! Great discussion and well articulated as to why this study is trash.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 11:03AM
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beng(z6 western MD)

You're welcome, Sal. Learned quite a few things from the post & the replies.

hair, it took -20F in Jan 1985 to kill most, but not all the Kudzu in southwest VA.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 8:41AM
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lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

It was 9*F in Houston back in 1989. I think Dallas saw -1*F at that time but I was in Houston when that happened. Never saw an outdoor fish pond develop such thickness of ice layer that I was able to walk on. Never saw that kind of arctic blast since then.

It is cyclical so I am sure it will happen again. This winter does seem colder than usual and I moved 150 miles further south last year...

As climate history goes... warming trend is much better than cooling trend...

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 9:59AM
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