Fearful Future of Fall


Classic Ohio. 80 degrees one day and 40 degrees the next. Well, what else would you expect from the heart of the midwest? But not all of the blame can be directed at Ohio as many renowned scientists have attributed the drastic changes in seasons to the dangerous climate change. However, more recently, a rumor has arisen stating that Ohio is possibly becoming a two-season state.

For many Ohioans, the possible shift in seasons threatens the habitual autumn endeavors, such as apple picking, pumpkin carving, Halloween, haunted houses, enjoying the leaves change in color and enjoying sweater weather. Five years ago, it was snowing at the beginning of October. Now, we can’t get rid of summer fast enough. What exactly is happening to our weather?

“The principal driver for the recent warming is rising levels of gases in our atmosphere like carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide. These gasses act to absorb heat from Earth and redirect it back down to raise surface temperatures,” OSU Climatology Professor, Bryan Mark, says.

Not only will these factors prohibit you from doing fun-filled fall activities, but these factors also encircle the Powell community with conflicts. Although these conflicts won’t affect Powell directly, there will, however, be major indirect consequences.

¨The increase in temperature, particularly the high nighttime temperatures, is problematic for people in urban areas and carries with it an increased risk for heat-related health issues. Increased urban temperatures tend to exacerbate the problems of urban air pollution,” James Degrand, Assistant State Climatologist at the Climate Research Center, states. “In rural areas, farmers are having to deal with shifting growing seasons and timing of specific agricultural activities. Other impacts include expansion of ranges of human and agricultural disease vectors and increased heat stress on livestock.¨

Joel Barker, a professor at the OSU School of Earth Sciences supports Degrand’s statement, but also expands his predictions on the adverse effects of the dramatic warming.

It will become more and more difficult to manage some crops that we currently rely on such as corn and soy under drought and flood conditions,” Barker says.

While Ohio will not be directly affected by these impacts, we will be indirectly affected as they ripple through the country as a whole.”

— James Degrand

Despite these factual statements, there are still many misconceived notions pertaining to climate change. The common misconception that climate change is measured yearly is debunked by several experts.

“People tend to judge warming and cooling from their lifetime in where they live. This is not scientific and could lead to misleading information. It takes a much longer time of data and a large area average to see the warming,¨ Zhengyu Liu, a professor at OSU’s Department of Geography, comments.

The statistics provide the most proof in finding the overall change in temperature. The importance of viewing the change in warmth long term lies in receiving accurate data.

“Using these records, we see that average annual temperature has increased in Ohio by about 1.1 degrees F over the past 100 years,” Degrand says. Though numerically it doesn’t seem like a drastic change, the impact hits harder than it seems.

Coming back to the rather concerning rumor that Ohio is in the midst of becoming a two-season state, Barker gives his views on this topic, “I don’t think that we’ll become a ‘2 season state’. We will always have transition seasons between summer and winter, but the conditions that we normally associate with all 4 seasons are changing and will continue to change if climate continues to warm.”

For us Ohioans, it is a source of relief that our favorite season will not be taken away from us. Yet, sadly as a whole, our country will continue to feel the drastic warming effects.

As Degrand states, “While Ohio will not be directly affected by these impacts we will be indirectly affected as they ripple through the country as a whole.”