Is the flowering cycle changing?

Is the flowering cycle changing?

Rising temperatures and extreme nature events such as floods, cold waves apart, other evidence that the climate is indeed changing comes from the flowering cycle of plants.
The journal Science carries a paper by Christian Körner and David Basler of the Institute of Botany, Basel, Switzerland which describes how the flowering cycle of plants has changed in recent times.  The article, ‘Plant science, phenology under global warming’  by Körner C and Basler D of Basel, traces the latest findings and says, “Phenological events such as bud burst, flowering, and senescence have received increased interest in the light of global warming. Spring events at temperate latitudes have advanced by 2.5 days per decade since 1971. As global warming progresses, how will it affect the arrival of spring and the length of the growing season?”

Also, the journal Nature has announced an international, multi-disciplinary conference on phenology, which would bring together experts on phenology from both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, in Dublin in June. The mounting phenological evidence of global warming will help turn the scale in attaining results in emission limit negotiations.

What is phenology?
The events of germination, sprouting, flowering of plants or the growth and reproductive cycle of insects take place according to the change of seasons. Phenology is the study of how these life cycle events are affected by changes in climate, from season to season or over the years. Because the timings are found to be very sensitive in their response, phenology is seen as a powerful resource to uncover convincing evidence of environmental warming.

In 2007, the journal Current Biology, carried a paper by researchers from Denmark, that reported, “In the Earth’s cold and icy far north, the harsh winters are giving way to spring weeks earlier than they did just a decade ago...”
According to researchers, “The findings in the Arctic, where the effects of global warming are expected to be most severe, offers an “early warning” of things to come on the rest of the planet..”

To uncover the effects of warming, researchers looked at the timing of familiar signs of spring seen in plants, butterflies, birds, and other species.
Shifts in phenology, or the timing of these events, are considered one of the clearest and most rapid signals of biological response to rising temperatures, Toke T Hoye, one of the researchers, explained. Using the most comprehensive data set available for the region, the researchers documented that the flowering dates in six plant species, median emergence dates of twelve arthropod species, and clutch initiation dates in three species of birds have advanced, in some cases by over 30 days during the last decade, the average across all time series being 14.5 days per decade.

Inconvenient truth
Former US Vice President Al Gore’s film provided the first collected, publicly presented evidence that the world was warming. Al Gore relied on hard, documented evidence of warming, its catastrophic potential and most important, that the warming was man-made. 

The case was developed using five facts.
Charles David Keeling’s formal, meticulous record of atmospheric carbon dioxide, since 1958: While the level of carbon dioxide varies cyclically both during the day and during the year, Keeling’s record shows that the up-down curve itself has been moving up and up these last 50 years, from an average 315 parts per million to 385 parts per million.
Photographs of glaciers: Al Gore’s film has dramatic pictures of glaciers, taken a few years apart, which show marked shrinking of the ice and retreat of the glacier to higher reaches.

Ice core data to measure CO2 levels: Researchers have studied ancient ice buried deep in the Antarctic, to measure CO2 levels in past periods. The study shows that the present  levels are the highest since 6,50,000 years.
A section of the US department of commerce has collected records of land and sea temperatures since 1880, which show that 1997 to 2008 are the ten hottest years.
But there is no dearth of sceptics, who believe or profess that talk of global warming is an unfounded scare.

They question and rubbish the evidence and present the global warming sceptre as one more horror tale concocted by the science community “…all it will do is to push up the price of oil, and everything else, to contain emissions…”
To add grist to their mill was the recent Glaciergate error, when UN climate researchers admitted to a blunder in their findings.

The climate pundits had estimated that Himalayan glaciers would disappear by 2035, but they admitted that the estimate was wrong and it would take much longer, as much as 300 years. The sceptics pounced on the admission and went on to discount the entire report.  

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