We’re getting Sprung Earlier Every Year

March 13, 2018

New Penn State study, not “new” news, but deeper dive on well grounded observations.

Below, famous NASA study, Rosenzweig et al, found almost 30,000 indicators in the natural world consistent with a warming planet.

Penn State University:

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — For every 10 degrees north from the equator you move, spring arrives about four days earlier than it did a decade ago, according to researchers from Penn State, U.C. Davis and the University of Minnesota Duluth. This northward increase in the rate of springtime advance is roughly three times greater than what previous studies indicated.

For example, at southern to mid latitudes such as Los Angeles, New Orleans or Dallas, the study suggests spring might be arriving a mere one day earlier than it did a decade ago. Farther north, in Seattle, Chicago or Washington, D.C., it might be arriving four days earlier. And if you live in the Arctic, it might be arriving as much as 16 days earlier. The researchers reported their findings online in Scientific Reports.

“This study verifies observations that have been circulating in the scientific community and popular reports for years,” said Eric Post, a Fellow of the John Muir Institute and polar ecologist in the U.C. Davis Department of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology. “Yes, spring is arriving earlier, and the Arctic is experiencing greater advances of spring than lower latitudes. What our study adds is that we connect such differences to more rapid springtime warming at higher latitudes.”

This study is the most comprehensive analysis to date of springtime advance as you move north with latitude. Such signs include birds migrating, flowers blooming, amphibians calling and the emergence of leaves.

The researchers analyzed 743 previously published estimates of the rate of springtime advance from studies spanning 86 years across the Northern Hemisphere, as well as rates of springtime warming over the same range of years and latitude. Even after accounting for differences in the length, time and location of those previous studies, the relationship between earlier springs and higher latitudes was strong.

Springtime provides important biological cues for many plant and animal species, and it is unclear how an accelerated spring could play out for these species across the planet.

The study notes that impacts to migratory birds are a potential concern. Many birds move from tropical zones to higher latitudes, such as the Arctic, to breed.

“Whatever cues they’re relying on to move northward for spring might not be reliable predictors of food availability once they get there if the onset of spring at these higher latitudes is amplified by future warming,” Post said. “The springtime emergence of the plants and insects they’ll eat when they arrive is happening faster than the changes at the lower latitudes those birds are departing from.”

NASA:

Cynthia Rosenzweig of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Science in New York and scientists at 10 other institutions have linked physical and biological impacts since 1970 with rises in temperatures during that period. The study, to be published May 15 in the journal Nature, concludes human-caused warming is resulting in a broad range of impacts across the globe.

“This is the first study to link global temperature data sets, climate model results, and observed changes in a broad range of physical and biological systems to show the link between humans, climate, and impacts,” said Rosenzweig, lead author of the study.

Rosenzweig and colleagues also found the link between human-caused climate change and observed impacts on Earth holds true at the scale of individual continents, particularly in North America, Europe, and Asia.

To arrive at the link, the authors built and analyzed a database of more than 29,000 data series pertaining to observed impacts on Earth’s natural systems. The data were collected from about 80 studies, each with at least 20 years of records between 1970 and 2004.

Observed impacts included changes to physical systems, such as glaciers shrinking, permafrost melting, and lakes and rivers warming. Biological systems also were impacted in a variety of ways, such as leaves unfolding and flowers blooming earlier in the spring, birds arriving earlier during migration periods, and plant and animal species moving toward Earth’s poles and higher in elevation. In aquatic environments such as oceans, lakes, and rivers, plankton and fish are shifting from cold-adapted to warm-adapted communities.

The team conducted a “joint attribution” study. They showed that at the global scale, about 90 percent of observed changes in diverse physical and biological systems are consistent with warming. Other driving forces, such as land use change from forest to agriculture, were ruled out as having significant influence on the observed impacts.

Next, the scientists conducted statistical tests and found the spatial patterns of observed impacts closely match temperature trends across the globe, to a degree beyond what can be attributed to natural variability. The team concluded observed global-scale impacts are very likely because of human-caused warming.

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5 Responses to “We’re getting Sprung Earlier Every Year”

  1. Keith McClary Says:

    As I read this, the TV weather is going on about how “lucky” we are to be having record warm temperatures.

    • pendantry Says:

      My boss, the other day, hoped that I would enjoy ‘the warmer climate’ we’re currently enjoying. I think she meant ‘weather’, but at least the term ‘climate’ is entering the conversation!


  2. Precipitation events are getting more extreme not only in Northern and tropical areas, but in the Southern Hemisphere too.

    Some insurance companies already exclude flooding in some areas of Australia, and the number and severity of flooding events in New Zealand is increasing, with interesting things happening with the recent marine heatwave in the Tasman Sea.

    New Zealand has had a very active storm season where ex tropical cyclones ride over warmer waters dumping large amounts of rainfall sometimes over the whole country. Flooding here is becoming a climate feature where it wasn’t before.


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