Shifting Climate Zones

Nicola Jones, Redrawing the Map: How the World’s Climate Zones Are Shifting, Yale Environment 360, October 23, 2018

Are they really shifting?

As human-caused emissions change the planet’s atmosphere, and people reshape the landscape, things are changing fast. The receding line of Arctic ice has made headlines for years, as the white patch at the top of our planet shrinks dramatically. The ocean is rising, gobbling up coastlines. Plants, animals, and diseases are on the move as their patches of suitable climate move too.

Sometimes, the lines on the map can literally be redrawn: the line of where wheat will grow, or where tornadoes tend to form, where deserts end, where the frozen ground thaws, and even where the boundaries of the tropics lie.

Through the WI Lens

As Well Intelligence has argued on many occasions, rising global temperatures will have (sooner than most business executives realize) a dramatic impact on the wellness industry by altering climatic zones around the planet. The consequences for food and water security, local economies and public health will be significant.

This article takes a stark look at some of the distinct features that are already on the move by highlighting some of the less known features that have shifted in the face of climate change. Some insights: (1) In the US, plant hardiness zones are moving north at 13 miles per decade and “Tornado Alley” has shifted 500 miles east in 30 years; The Sahara desert has gotten 10 percent bigger since 1920; The Tropics are getting bigger at 30 miles per decade and so on.

This is a must-read to get a sense on what’s happening “on the ground”. The regions hit the hardest by global warming are those located closer to the expanding tropics and semi-arid zones north and south of the equator.

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