Climate Challenge Week: Detroit region’s growing seasons are getting longer

Longer growing season means longer allergy season

A longer growing season in Michigan means a longer seasonal allergy season.
A longer growing season in Michigan means a longer seasonal allergy season.

DETROIT – Global warming is throwing a double whammy at the Detroit region.

Growing seasons in the region are getting longer. There has been a clear upward trend since the 1970s. In fact, growing seasons are about 27 days -- nearly a month -- longer than they were 50 years ago in the Detroit region.

A longer growing season means a longer allergy season.

Moreover, more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere means more pollen. Current projections show that by the year 2085 that plants will be producing about three times more pollen than they are today. That means we’re heading into a future with longer, more severe allergy seasons.

The longer growing seasons are causing fruit trees to blossom too early in some years. Those early blossoms are being killed by frost -- that happened in 2002, 2012 and this year (2021). It’s still unclear what the damage is this year.


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About the Author:

Local 4 meteorologist Paul Gross was born in Detroit and has spent his entire life and career right here in southeast Michigan. Paul has researched, written and produced eight half-hour documentaries for WDIV, as well as many science, historical and environmental stories.