Pine Tree Watch interviews UMaine, Extension faculty about shift in weather patterns – S. Birkel & I. Fernandez

Pine Tree Watch interviewed Sean Birkel, research assistant professor in the Climate Change Institute at the University of Maine, and John Jemison, a soil and water quality specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, about shift weather patterns fueled by climate change. According to the article, “Rain deficits can be prompted by “atmospheric blocking patterns” linked to a weakened jet stream.” Birkel said weakened jetstreams can increase the odds for both heat and cold waves, and the blocking patterns can remain in places for weeks. As Maine’s climate warms, “it remains uncertain whether drought becomes more or less prevalent,” Birkel said, “but it’s a plausible scenario.” When asked about increasing garden resilience to wet and dry conditions, Jemison said gardeners should be “building better soil structure,” particularly by adding compost or other organic material. He also said he recommends using raised beds or walking boards, which reduce compaction by distributing weight. The article also shared Extension’s online resource for managing gardens and yards and manual to train Master Gardener Volunteers — which includes tips for stormwater management techniques like creating rain gardens and using cover crops to minimize erosion. It also included a quote from Ivan Fernandez, a professor of soil science and forest resources and cooperating professor in the Climate Change Institute, published in Wild Seed magazine. “Never again will we have the climate system of the 20th century,” he wrote.