In addition to the excellent @NatGeo article below, I’d recommend checking out a couple of other related items of interest form their site (links after the excerpt).
Photograph by Darlyne A. Murawski, National Geographic
You could call them early bloomers: In 2010 and 2012, plants in the eastern U.S. produced flowers earlier than at any point in recorded history, a new study says.
This result, according to the research team, has a bit of a literary twist: It comes from data collected by U.S. environmental writers Henry David Thoreau and Aldo Leopold. Thoreau began observing bloom times in Massachusetts in 1852, and Leopold began in Wisconsin in 1935.
Scientists compared this historical data with modern, record-shattering high temperatures in Massachusetts and Wisconsin during 2010 and 2012. (See “Heat Waves ‘Almost Certainly’ Due to Global Warming?”)
They discovered that those two recent warm spells triggered many spring-flowering plants to blossom up to 4.1 days earlier for every 1.8-degrees Fahrenheit (degree Celsius) rise in average spring temperatures.
Many studies have already shown that flowering times have come earlier as a result of recent global warming, but what’s unknown is how long the plants will be able to “keep up” by budding earlier and earlier. (Get more facts about spring.)
So far, plants—at least in the eastern U.S.—are coping.
“It’s just remarkable that they can physiologically handle this,” said study leader Elizabeth Ellwood, a biologist at Boston University in Massachusetts.
But Ellwood suspects that “at some point this won’t be the case anymore as winter gets shorter.”
“Something’s gotta give.”
Related NatGeo Article: 6 Ways Climate Change Will Affect You
Topics Covered: Atmospheric carbon, increased energy demands, aging transportation infrastructures, droughts, increased cases of allergies and asthma, cities could become more dangerous
NatGeo YouTube Channel: Amazon Adventure—Documenting Life in Ecuador’s Yasuní National Park (beautiful photography, as always, of an ecologically important area).