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Bloomin' trouble: Our plants flowering earlier than ever

The Smithsonian reports further evidence of climate change comes from Walden Pond, where plants in 2012 bloomed earlier than ever before recorded - and records go back to 1852, when Henry David Thoreau kept track:

"We were amazed that wildflowers in Concord flowered almost a month earlier in 2012 than they did in Thoreau’s time or any other recent year, and it turns out the same phenomenon was happening in Wisconsin where Aldo Leopold was recording flowering times," lead author Elizabeth Ellwood of Boston University said in a statement. "Our data shows that plants keep shifting their flowering times ever earlier as the climate continues to warm."

Via Jason Mihalko.

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Despite the awful portents of this news, I am surprisingly warmed by the notion that records there were started by HDT. How terribly New Englandy

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1850 is generally considered the end of the 'Little Ice Age,' and it has been warming ever since. That's a good thing. Local ponds froze solid a foot and more deep - how would those temperatures appeal to you while waiting for a bus or train? If we went back to Thoreau's time, and took a month off each end of the growing season, we couldn't grow tomatoes here. I'll take our weather over his any time.

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whether it's a good or bad thing really depends on what angle you're looking from. Is it nicer to have warmer weather in the winter? yes. I hate the cold, especially when the trains can't function in it and it sucks being stuck outside in it. However, it's not a good sign for a lot of ecological processes. the "little ice age" was a period of minimal cooling, due to natural solar cycles and other variations in the globe. On average, it cooled the planet by about a half a degree Celsius. From 1850 to about 1950, after the little ice age ended, those same factors warmed the climate back up, and the globe rebounded. However, that's where the natural recovery ended. the warming trends of the past 60 years are not accompanied by any natural warming events. The recent warming we're seeing is associated with human activities. It would be more accurate to look at changes in plant blooming cycles over the past 60 years. spanning from 1850 to today isn't completely accurate if you're wondering about how human generated greenhouse gasses and climate change are effecting our ecology, but I bet we would see similar patterns if we look at herbaria records from the 1950s to today.

Changes in plant blooming cycles may not seem important at first glance - maybe it looks like they're adapting nicely to the changing climate. However, small changes like this can have major impacts on the health of the local flora and fauna. when the climate changes, plants that are better at adapting can take over, and we see an increase in invasive species and weedy species, decreasing the regional biodiversity. It also impacts the schedules and yields for farmers and the seasonal habits of animals. Where we are right now is really not such a good thing.

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