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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.