Early Spring

Did you know that in 1965 the U.S. Department of Agriculture planted a particular variety of lilac in more than 70 locations around the U.S. Northeast, to detect the onset of spring — in turn to be used to determine the appropriate timing of corn planting and the like? The records the U.S.D.A. have kept show that those same lilacs are blooming as much as two weeks earlier than they did in 1965. April has, in a very real sense, become May.

That’s from a RealClimate blog post about a new book by Amy Seidl called Early Spring. The subtitle is An Ecologist and Her Children Wake to a Warming World — so no, it doesn’t appear that Seidl is blaming the lilacs for global warming.

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  1. Julie says:

    Hmmm… here in my part of Canada, we awoke to a city full of snow.

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  2. danUK says:

    i’d be interested to see how it compares with the sakura zensen or cherry blossom front recorded annually in japan.

    this tracks when the japanese cherry tree will bloom and runs in a wave like a weather front from south to north every spring.

    it allows the japanese to plan their hanami or cherry blossom parties but would also illustrate the impact of climate change.

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  3. Melissa says:

    And yet to those of us here in Chicago, “Early Spring” is but a fantasy. Even “Normal Spring” is a fantasy, seeing as it’s April 14, and it’s 41 degrees and rainy outside. I think that “Late Spring” is our reality here…

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  4. L Nettles says:

    Warm weather being supportive of abundant life, sounds like a good thing to me. So what the best temperature for the world?

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  5. Eric M. Jones says:

    There are scant few global-warming-doubters around here. It is easy to show that the globe is getting somewhat warmer. Certainly humans are partly responsible and have made a mess of things. But I am bothered by wild claims of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW). There are many reasons for taking a less rabid view. Here are some of mine:

    1) Science is not a matter of getting everyone to agree. Really it isn’t. Honest! Why this has become an emotionally charged and political debate is beyond me.

    2) In the words of Dr. David Deutsch, it is too late to prevent a global-warming disaster. In fact it was too late to stop the global-warming disaster even in the 1970′s when the best scientific theory said that atmospheric pollution was going to cause a new ice age that would kill millions. We can fix it somewhat, but we can’t prevent it.

    3) We live in the Holocene interglacial epoch. In this period the earth has been warming and virtually all of human history from about 11,550 years ago took place in it. There is no reason to believe we will not return to mile-thick glaciers in the future.

    4) It is typical that AGW believers don’t include many climatologists or even meteorologists, who understand how climate chages over the centuries. This gives one pause.

    5) When the pilgrims landed in 1620, one could walk across New York harbor on the ice. The Earth is now, not as much warmer than average, as it then was colder than average. Hmmmm…..

    6) Have you seen the Sun recently? It is now quieter than any time in the last century. No sunspots means a cooler Sun. Many AGW people are in a panic. Google “Maunder Minimum” to find out why.

    7) Check “Milankovitch Cycles”. Love those Russians!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milankovitch_cycles
    They ALL point to a coming ice age.

    8) Having a baby is the super-humongous-GIANT carbon footprint. Little has been said about this.

    So call me a “Biostitute” or whatever. I’ll take the long bet. In the meantime, let’s clean up the planet and live a good life.

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  6. Mike says:

    My tail it is. April has become a mild February. Worst weather I can remember.

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  7. charles says:

    Oh no…a GW post….lol.

    I sometimes wonder why we don’t talk about all the wonderful things associated with global warming. 99% of what’s written is what will be detrimental, but things don’t work like that. Even if 90% of it’s terrible – something’s got to benefit. What will?

    I also think we’d be much better off with an environmental cause whose catch phrase doesn’t require silly mental back flips. Let’s fight climate change! Ahhh hello, what do they want global cooling? Global stay the same? Decelerated warming? Should we guess what’s natural and shoot for that, but what if that includes bad things for polar bears? How do we accomplish this?

    And these people (cough manbearpig) seem to be able to predict the future within a tight range of degrees, AND, list all the horrible consequences (no dampening feedback loops in the models such as reduced co2 release from soil microbes) that we are to suffer. I hope we don’t have an increase in volcanic activity that might dampen the linear progression – then what would we do? New wrong models I suppose.

    I can’t take that garbage seriously. I know the planet is warming; it could be bad it could be not so bad, it could be good. I know that humans have had a role. How could we have not? I can get behind treading lightly on our earth. Now when we get people throwing their critical thinking skills out the window, people who should know better, then I’ll step aside and let the lemmings pass.

    Earlier lilac blooms – not such a bad thing. Maybe that’s number one on my list.

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  8. Woesinger says:

    Eric M Jones:

    On your point 2 – it is not true that most scientists thought we were headed for an Ice Age in the ’70s.

    On your point 4 – care to back that statement up with some corroborating evidence?

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