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What does climate mean to you?  RSS feed

 
Kyle Neath
pollinator
Posts: 164
Location: High Sierras, CA 6400'
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dog hugelkultur trees woodworking
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One thing I've been really fascinated by lately is the dramatic effect climate has on permaculture design principles. I got hooked on Permaculture through sepp holzer, and I think a large reason it really stuck with me was because his climate just so happened to mirror mine — high elevation, dry summers, mountainous terrain. His solutions made sense at an intuitive level because I was familiar with a climate similar to his. Conversely, listening to geoff lawton is a bit like listening to someone from another planet to me. His solutions for deserts and tropical locations make almost no sense in my context. And while I love watching Richard Perkins' videos, I've come to realize his consistent summer rainfall makes his approaches foreign in the West.

All that is to say… climate obviously matters a lot. We can always go back to P.A. Yeomans scale of permanence:

1. Climate
2. Landshape
3. Water Supply
4. Roads/Access
5. Trees
6. Structures
7. Subdivision Fences
8. Soil

In other words, climate should be the most important consideration for your designs, because it's the most permanent aspect of your land (and thus most difficult to change). The question I have is what are the important, measurable descriptors of climate? We have growing zones, which are great for approximating cold-hardiness of plants. We have topographic maps that describe landshape. We have methods to calculate watersheds for water supply. But climate seems to be so much more than that. It's about total rainfall, it's about the regularity of rainfall, it's about that rainfall's relation to the growing season, it's about growing degree days, it's about maximum temperatures and minimum temperatures — during the growing season and not — it's about…

Well, what is climate to you? How would you objectively describe your climate to someone else who has no knowledge of where you live? How would you describe the most permanent factors of your design foundations?

What I'm really curious about getting to the truth of are two things:

1. A way to tell people what their climate is (like growing zones, but more).
2. A way to measure changes as our climate changes.
 
Skandi Rogers
Posts: 43
Location: Denmark 57N
1
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Good points, I get very annoyed trying to explain to people why even though I live in zone 7b I cannot grow rice, I can't even grow tomatos outside unless I am very lucky and have a "hot" summer I can only have one layer of anything due to weak sun and a lot of cloud cover. My climate is oceanic, that is how it is described. So that means I have mild winters and cool summers with constant rain pretty much equaly distrabuted throughout the year, slightly MORE in summer than in winter, but as it doesn't evaporate in winter it seems wetter then. I do not get much snow but the temperature sits below freezing for a couple of months each year, I do not have to irrigate (last two years I have watered once) My problem is getting rid of water as fast as possible, I have several springs  on a 2acre property! W also get a lot of wind, not so much storms, but constant wind almost always from one direction, all the trees here grow at around a 45degree angle and I'm 10miles from the sea!

We average 16C in July/august and 0C in December Jan.
 
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