Spring has come too soon in another hit of climate change

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Spring has come too soon in another hit of climate change

By William Phelps

Tucson, Arizona- Allergies or not, spring is when life returns to the natural world. Corn weather the change causes spring to begin earlier than before, with disastrous consequences for plants and animals (including us).

Blueberry harvests could come sooner unless frosts kill the optimistic berries first. © IMAGO / VWPics

Dr. Theresa Crimmins, plant ecologist and director of the USA National Phenology Network (USA-NPN), wrote in The conversation that in the United States, spring now begins days or even weeks earlier than it did 70 years ago.

Dr. Crimmins and USA-NPN focus on how changing seasons influence natural life cycles and worked with University of Arizona climatologist Professor Michael Crimmins on a study of how the early onset of spring has developed over the past 70 years.

In the southwest, spring is now coming 19 days early, but spring is barely early in the southeast.

Dr. Crimmins also refers to a USA-NPN map showing where flowering and leaf growth is early, late or just in time.

Texas, for example, saw its last recorded bloom, while parts of California and Arizona saw their first recorded spring leaves.

Many crops are heavily modified, and blueberries are a perfect example, flowering three to four weeks earlier than in the 19th century.

The impacts of early spring

Cherries in DC can reach their peak bloom long before the Cherry Blossom Festival begins.

Cherries in DC can reach their peak bloom long before the Cherry Blossom Festival begins. © IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

Starting the Spring Festival early is a dangerous offer for plants and animals.

Flowering plants are at risk of losing fruit before they ripen, as frosts can still descend, freezing buds, flowers and berries.

Additionally, animals and plants that share a symbiotic relationship may miss each other, as not all species get the memo that spring has arrived at the same speed.

It’s a serious problem for species that depend on each other for pollination and food, and as climate change worsens, the disconnect is likely to become more drastic.

It can even impact the food crops we rely on, like in 2017 when frost wiped out 80% of Georgia’s peach crop, or the 2012 frosts killed 90% or $200 million of cherries. from Michigan.

Speaking of cherries, a study published in the journal PLOS One revealed that Washington DC’s cherry trees can now bloom weeks before the capital’s National Cherry Blossom Festival.

Climate change is a multi-faceted crisis, and new research is beginning to make the connections on how it can impact our daily lives, from the increased risk of landslides to earlier spring blooms.

Cover photo: IMAGO / VWPics

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