Deep freeze has silver linings for natural world

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Associated Press

Posted on January 8, 2014 at 3:02 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 8 at 3:04 PM

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — It may be hard to think of this week's deep freeze as anything but miserable. But in the realm of nature, there are silver linings.

Scientists say the extreme cold could kill some of the insect pests that have ravaged northern forests and slow the migration of invasive species. Heavy ice could also prevent erosion and protect wetlands along large lakes and provide bountiful playgrounds for figure skaters and hockey teams.

Even agriculture can benefit. Some of southern Florida's citrus crops can use a perfectly timed cool-down, which they were getting as midweek temperatures hovered around the freezing level.

Frankie Hall is policy director for the Florida Farm Bureau Federation. Hall says a good cold snap lowers the acidity in oranges and sweetens them.

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