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Differences small/micro climates are much more important:

Message from Mike coastal CT

The Pine Barrens soil comp does play a role in surface temps and how they respond. Like all sand and dune systems on the East Coast, I find the Pine Barrens an amazingly interesting environment (been there many times). So I agree, no doubt this plays a role in temp reflection. Remember however, NWS Bridgeport Airport is located right on the cool (in winter) water – typically only a few blocks inland (like my house) are often warmer.

However, one look at the numbers, and the average daily high in Atlantic City (34.9 F) and Bridgeport (29.0 F) where not greatly different. True, Bridgeport did average just below freezing and Atlantic City did not, but with the nights so cold and so below normal that month at both stations, I don’t think it made a huge difference. In terms of more average (or closer to normal temps) the normal Jan low in Atlantic City is 24. 5 F….and it’s 23.1 F in Bridgeport. So normally, I would think most plants out in the open in both locations would experience similar low temps. I would go as far as to say, even though it fell to – 6 at Atlantic City Airport and -2 F at Bridgeport, it really didn’t mean that great a deal given the duration.

Much more important (and much more interesting I think) …is how micro –climate sighting is so much more important (at least IMO) than even the difference of TWO zones (let alone a half zone or so). In the previous ten years up to 2011…I kept non-stop temp data on my north vs south side micro-climates. Although I expected there would be semi-shocking differences (this was big topic back in college)…it was still very shocking:

Without boring you with all the numbers…there were many winters (more than 50%) that my north side temp sensor in the middle of the back yard STRUGGLED to maintain zone 6 annual lows (I’m supposed to be in zone 7!)….yet my protected, wind sheltered, sunny southwest side averaged at least zone 8 in half the winters! Look at last year, despite Bridgeport falling to -2 F (and Atlantic City falling to – 6F)…MY protected, south side, rock/gravel covered (radiates more heat at night) never went below 11 F! I can’t count how many times last Feb I hit 50 or 55 F on the rock beds.

IMO micro-climate planting is so much more important than the difference between a zone and two.

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