Don't let the recent piles of snow fool you—the earth's climate continues to warm at a steady state. In her report summarizing readings taken over the course of the year, Vicky Kelly, manager of the Cary Institute Environmental Monitoring Program, notes that 2010 was the 18th year in a row that featured higher than average temperatures. The average temperature at the station was 50.9 degrees Fahrenheit, well above the historic average of 47.6 degrees Fahrenheit.
"One of the most interesting changes we've observed is that the growing season is getting longer each year," says Kelly. The growing season is dated from the year's last frost in the spring to first frost in autumn. "Unfortunately, this increase is not benefitting plants, because it's the autumn frost that is getting later and later. The spring frost is remaining constant, and plants' growth is determined by when they sprout."