Spring is sprung twenty six days earlier than a decade ago, causing problems for the natural cycle of plants and wildlife, according to Climate News Network.
Spring is arriving ever earlier in the northern hemisphere. One sedge species in Greenland is springing to growth twenty six days earlier than it did a decade ago. In the US, spring arrived twenty two days early this year in Washington D C.
The evidence comes from those silent witnesses, the natural things that respond to climate signals. The relatively new science of phenology – the calendar record of first bud, first flower, first nesting behaviour and first migrant arrivals – has over the last three decades repeatedly confirmed meteorological fears of global warming, as a consequence of the combustion of fossil fuels.
Researchers say the evidence from the plant world is consistent with the instrumental records as 2016 was the hottest year ever recorded, and it was the third record-breaking year in succession. Sixteen of the hottest years ever recorded have happened in the 21st century.
And of course, an early spring doesn’t mean a sunnier, kinder world for us all. Ticks and flies become more active, pollen seasons last longer, and crops could flourish or be at risk from a sudden late frost or summer drought.
Plants may bloom before the arrival of the birds, bees and butterflies that feed on and pollinate the flowers, with consequences for both the plant and the pollinator.
These earlier springs might not seem such a big deal – and who among us doesn’t appreciate a balmy day or a break in the dreary winter weather. Well anyway..
I saw three dandelions today,
Beside a fence down Frithsden way,
Though until then I had not seen
A coltsfoot, or a celandine,
A mercury, or a violet small,
Or any other flower at all.
Three dandelions, beside a fence!
A thing of little consequence
To many folks who passed, and yet
Those shining disks of gold I met
Told me that winter time is past,
And blessed spring is here at last.
No more cruel days of frost that kill
The starving thrushes on Beacon Hill!
No scourging wind! No drifts of snow!
The dandelions told me so;
Forerunners, these, of countless flowers,
Of sun and song and joyous hours!
No wonder that I’m pleased to say
‘ I saw three dandelions to-day’ !
Thanks to Barclay Wills for his contribution.