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.

Chuck Cardiff

Actually arctic sea ice is now in two years of recovery. Check out Cryosphere Today for up-to-date stats http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/ .

Anyone interested in checking out data on surface temperatures can do it himself from the data available from the Goddard Institute for Space Studies http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/ -- if you look a the northern hemisphere data there is a very obvious downward trend in the last two years. March 2009 was cold.


Wow - I had no idea that readers of freakonomics were a bunch of global warming deniers! What a major bummer.

What are the demographics of people who read this?

I am thoroughly depressed reading these comments.

It's so clear that the naysayers are far more upset about the solution to climate change than the science of it. They just don't want to have to invest in clean energy to make it cheap. It will take major investment to make clean energy cheap, and these people are afraid that we won't be able to do it, that it will somehow be too expensive to switch away from fossil fuels. Well, put some friggn' faith in our engineers. Stop being such a wuss. Let's do some real investment in the future. Don't you think we should be spending billions and billions on making solar energy cheap? Let's make something better than fossil fuels.