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Climate Hustle

Flowers blooming earlier now than any time in last 250 years

Posted on 13 April 2010 by John Cook

Climate change is being recognized as one of the most influential drivers of changes in biodiversity. This is particularly evident in the field of phenology, which looks at how climatic changes affecting timing of events in the natural world. Changes in the timing of one part of the ecosystem can have a ripple effect, disrupting other areas. For example, a change in timing of plant flowering can disrupt the creatures that pollinate them. Similarly, changes in timing of plant or insect behaviour can affect the birds that use them as food supplies. New research has been published stitching together nearly 400,000 first flowering records covering 405 species across the UK (Amano et al 2010). They've found that British plants are flowering earlier now than at any time in the last 250 years.

There's a strong correlation between temperature and the date when flowers first open each year. Consequently, much information can be gleaned from looking at flowering dates in the past. Since the mid-1700s, sightings have been made by full-time biologists and part-time enthusiasts. Systematic recording of flowering times began in the UK in 1875 by the Royal Meteorological Society. However, many sets of records are short-term, fragmented or focus on just one species. Amano 2010 developed a technique for blending fragmented records in a way that takes into account where the records came from, what length of time they cover and the differences between the flowering times of different species. This enabled them to develop a kind of nationwide, year-long, species-wide average.


Figure 1:  Average (red line) and 95% uncertainty range (grey area) of the estimated first flowering index index (day of the year). The black
line indicates the average for every 25 years and the dotted line for the most recent 25 years (
Amano 2010). 

There's been a clear advance in the time of first flowering in recent decades. The average first flowering date has been earlier in the last 25 years than in any other period since 1760. The next step in this research is to see whether the same techniques can be employed on a larger scale, to give a regional or global picture of nature's response to temperature change.

Note: thanks to Anders Svensson for the heads-up re this article and to Richard Smithers, co-author of the paper, who pointed me in the direction of the full paper. Apparently, the full paper is only available for download until Wednesday so act now while stocks last!

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Comments

1  2  3  Next

Comments 1 to 50 out of 123:

  1. hooray....... the earlier the better
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  2. @robertl... As my mother always said, "Be careful what you wish for."
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  3. Robrtl, you'd certainly think so until you discover that complications arise, such as a food supply becoming available and then ending prior to the requirement of organisms depending on that food supply.

    Did you read John's article?

    ...a change in timing of plant flowering can disrupt the creatures that pollinate them. Similarly, changes in timing of plant or insect behaviour can affect the birds that use them as food supplies.

    Google on the topic and you'll see the complications emerge more fully.
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  4. Great article, and yet another example of a prediction made by climate science. So, how do the deniers try and spin this? Check you WUWT?

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/04/06/global-warming-and-%e2%80%9cthe-early-spring%e2%80%9d-part-ii/

    Apparently we don't need to worry, the paper's results are just a "myth". When it contradicts your world view, well deny.
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    Response: Thanks for the WUWT link. I'd completely forgot that there is actually a skeptic argument denying that springs are advancing. I was only highlighting this study as I'd just added it to the evidence for global warming. But as there are some who don't even think springs are advancing, I've added a 106th skeptic rebuttal "Springs aren't advancing". For now, it just includes this UK study but will expand it to cover the rest of the globe shortly.

    Also, I set aside some time each day to add peer-reviewed papers to the links directory. I've just added Amano 2010 to the list of peer-reviewed papers on advancing springs. Anyone else who knows of other papers on this topic, please feel free to submit them to the directory.
  5. There is also the issue of senescence. Warmer temperatures have been shown to make crop plants reach "old age" before maximum biomass can be achieved-thus resulting in reduced biomass overall. So far from being beneficial, earlier flowering & warmer winter, spring & summer temperatures could actually result in very detrimental outcomes for our food supplies.
    Also, John, I'm interested in the part of the graph for c 1900-1930. Now I realise the flowering times for 1978-2008 is even lower than for the 1900-1930 period, but did the author offer an explanation of why it was so low compared to the rest of the pre-1978 period? I'm guessing it had to do with the warming we got in the first part of the 20th century, but would just like that confirmed. Thanks :).
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  6. 1930 - 1978 seems to have rather late flowerings compared to 1900 - 1930 (as best as I can make out from eyeballing the graph (I find it hard to make out the start and finish of intervals on the x-axis) while 1753 - 1783 has very early flowerings despite its correspondence with the so-called 'Little Ice Age.'

    These figures seem counterintuitive when compared against what we know of climate in a time when reasonable instrumental records were available.

    I note too the extraordinarily high uncertainties in early data compared with the narrow uncertainties of the recent record, which makes me wonder about the validity of the splicing of the data.
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  7. What is the significance in this case of the present 25 years being the earliest springs? Is there any significance to the mid 1800’s showing the latest springs in 250 years?
    The data shows that nature can cope with a great deal of variation without apparent catastrophes.
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    Response: My next post somewhat addresses this - looks at how nature has coped with dramatic climate change in the past. This goes much further back than the last few centuries which have been fairly mild compared to some of the changes in the deep past. Should hopefully finish it tomorrow.
  8. Have just read the paper: two things interest me.

    Firstly, this is a very robust piece of research, and again confirms the reality of AGW.

    Secondly, it provides a model for monitoring the impact of climate change ecological systems are global/regional and national levels.

    Is there anything in Australia and/or NZ that attempts to record data for a similar analysis(granted our historical records won't have the depth of the UK)?

    To me, that would be an additional line of evidence and an interesting compare and contrast.
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  9. HumanityRules pardon me, it's late here, but using your conclusion about nature's resiliency I can apply the same logic to conclude that I can toss a brick through my living room window and simply call a glazier in the morning and have it fixed, no harm done. That observation begs the question: If I have the brick in my hand should I throw it, or set it aside? Put another way, am I a witless catastrophe, or a mindful human?

    Time for bed...
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  10. I am not aware of a single life form that doesnt depend on mobility for survival. Fish swim, birds fly, and even plants exhibit mobility by diffusing their seed and pollen in so many ways. This ability to move, migrate, etc., is proof that the environment has always been continually in flux. The ability for flowers to bloom earlier or later is a manifestation of this same reality.
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  11. #8 watchingthedeniers:

    There is a study of Australian butterflies reported on ScienceDaily. I don't know if it is published yet.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100318132510.htm
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    Response: It looks like the paper (Kearney 2010) is being published this Saturday, March 17. Thanks for the link, I'm adding it to the evidence for global warming and list of peer-review papers.
  12. Why the grouping in 25 year lots?
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  13. -watchingthedeniers, doug_bostrom etc:
    Climatologists and their followers seem to be an extremely anxious species. They have absolutely no faith in the ability of the biosphere to adapt to changes. As soon as the temperature goes up or a glacier goes down by even the smallest amount, they seem to think a catastrophe is waiting around the corner. Yet the history of the earth shows repeatedly that changes happen all the time, for various reasons, and that everything else adapts to the changes.
    As for flowering and pollination, ever heard of epigenetics in plants and animals, for instance?
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  14. Argus, your 'arguments' are countered on this very site (apart from the strawman about catastrophe-anxiety) :


    Climate's changed before


    It's just a natural cycle


    C02 has been higher in the past


    Animals and plants can adapt to global warming


    It's a climate regime shift
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  15. You should add these to the list of positives to come from global warming: florists.
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  16. Time to update the old saying; 'March showers bring April flowers'. Matches what has happened here in the northeast US the past few years perfectly.
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  17. Argus says (#13):

    "Yet the history of the earth shows repeatedly that changes happen all the time, for various reasons, and that everything else adapts to the changes."

    Actually, what Earth history shows is that only a tiny percentage of the species that have ever lived are still around; most by far could not adapt to the changing environment and went extinct. Everything most definitely does *not* adapt to the changes. We have a vested interest in making sure any changes that do happen are as gradual as possible.
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  18. 9.doug_bostrom
    Don't throw the brick.
    There's nothing witless in seeing a twelve day swing in spring onset in 150years as shown by this paper and suggesting that British wildlife is still doing its thing. It obviously is. Please point me to a single species in the UK that has gone extinct in the last 150 years as a result of this.

    14.JMurphy
    The catastrophe isn't a straw man. That's what's being peddled with this subject and others. Maybe not by these authors or John but certainly by those who wish to influence policy.
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  19. JMurphy (#14),
    My 'arguments' are partly 'countered', but that does not mean they are wrong. Your points:
    1. Climate has changed before. Yes, and it is changing now. No need to worry now, unless you believe that the biosphere is in a state of unstable equilibrium, where any small change starts an avalanche of accelerating changes in all areas. Do you?
    2. It's just a natural cycle. - I didn't say that! We are most likely affecting the present change in CO2, but it doesn't have to be bad.
    3. CO2 has been higher in the past. - I didn't say anything about that either! CO2 is increasing now, and is higher than it has been for a long period before us, but it is still on a very low level - not even half of a tenth of a percent. Almost all living things need CO2 in the atmosphere. If there is more, more will also be used and absorbed.
    4. Animals and plants can adapt... Yes they can and they do. I quote from your link: ''Global warming to date has certainly affected species’ geographical distributional ranges and the timing of breeding, migration, flowering, and so on.''
    Even individual plants can adapt to milder or colder (or longer) winters. See epigenetics and paramutation!
    5. It's a climate regime shift. - I never denied that the present global warming was caused by humans. I didn't even mention the topic.

    As for catastrophe-anxiety, it is evident all over the place on this site. It is not a 'strawman' argument.
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  20. HumanityRules, can you point to a single person that is now living because of smoking, alcohol, drug or gun restrictions/prohibition ?

    Meanwhile, why not have a read into how climate change is affecting British species :


    Lost life: England’s lost and threatened species


    Also, could you give a few names and referenced examples of any of those people ("who wish to influence policy") who are 'peddling the catastrophe' ?
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  21. Robert Murphy (#14),
    By 'everything adapts' I did not mean that 'all the species that have ever lived are still among us'. I guess I meant that the 'global ecological system of all living beings' always adapts, as a whole.
    I also certainly agree that we should be ''making sure any changes that do happen are as gradual as possible''. It still is a natural thing that species come and go. They have done so long before humans started making fire and growing wheat, but as far as possible we should refrain from cutting down the rainforests, or eating all the dodo birds. Better stay out of the extinction business!
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  22. By 'everything adapts' I did not mean that 'all the species that have ever lived are still among us'. I guess I meant that the 'global ecological system of all living beings' always adapts, as a whole.


    Of course. We even see that at the KT boundary. At the time, the dinosaurs might've argued that the fact that the biosphere would eventually adapt to post-catastrophe conditions was of little solace to them.

    The problem is the pace and magnitude of change, the impacts on today's ecosystems and human populations which are largely dependent on them. The fact that over millenia the boreal forests of canada and siberia might be replaced with ecosystems better adapted to a more temperate climate, and that over a very long period of time soils might be built up that some day, far in the future, might be able to support sustained wheat, corn and soy production, isn't going to provide tomorrow's farmers with much comfort.
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  23. It´s frustrating to see how flowers let themselves be influenced by media alarmism. Climategate has clearly proved that we´re not warming. Scientists hid the decline...

    Flowers should watch Fow news more often.
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  24. arrgghh...

    I meant Fox News, of course.
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  25. Argus,

    1) Do you contend, then, that the present warming is happening over the same sort of time-scale as it has done in the past, i.e. in a natural and slow fashion ?
    Do you believe that any past civilizations have collapsed due to climate change, i.e. that they weren't able to adapt in time ?

    3) Also countered on this very site :


    CO2 effect is weak

    CO2 is not a pollutant

    CO2 effect is saturated

    4) The link also says :

    "Because current climate change is so rapid, the way species typically adapt (eg - migration) is, in most cases, simply not be possible. Global change is simply too pervasive and occurring too rapidly."

    And :

    "The most well known study to date, by a team from the UK, estimated that 18 and 35% of plant and animal species will be committed to extinction by 2050 due to climate change."

    Still waiting for some examples of this 'catastrophe-anxiety'...
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  26. Alexandre, you should know by now that those e-mails don´t have any bearing on the scientifical debate.

    On topic.

    I wonder what effect an earlier spring will have on the most common food crops?
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  27. With regard to trophic mismatch, the recent paper by Thackeray et al. (2010) "Trophic level asynchrony in rates of phenological change for marine, freshwater and terrestrial environments" to be published in Global Change Biology is worth a look.
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  28. Zephiran #26

    Thanks for pointing it out, but my comment was sarcastic.

    I think I´m not very good at that, since people don´t get it quite often...

    Of course, the emails don´t disprove anything. I keep reminding people that no scientific paper will appear showing the "hidden decline" - for the obvious reason that that temperature decline does no exist.
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  29. "I wonder what effect an earlier spring will have on the most common food crops?"

    Most of the problems with the season shift is when you have loss of environmental syncronism. Something like the bees coming in April missing the flowers that bloomed in March.

    My amateur guess is that human-made crops won´t suffer much. On the contrary, I usually read something related to a longer growing season. The problem here will be more the temperature itself, and maybe some alterations due to more CO2.
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  30. The article only touches on the UK. A similar study done in Nova Scotia compared records from 1996 to 1998 and compared the results to those collected between 1892 and 1923 and concluded that the average spring climate in Atlantic Canada has remained cool since 1948, with a warming blip experienced in 1998.

    "Monitoring of Spring Flower Phenology in Nova Scotia: Comparison Over the Last Century, Litte et al; Northeastern Naturalist, Vol 8, No 4, Pgs 293-402”

    So here we have two studies with opposite conclusions, something that we always run into when we are trying to determine what is driving climate change.

    Now IF higher levels of atmospheric CO2 was the main driving force of climate change, and since the CO2 content quote is for the entire atmosphere, we should expect to observe similar data from two maritime environments such as the UK and Atlantic Canada, but we don't. To me that suggests there is more at play wrt climate change than simply higher levels of CO2.
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    Response: The key is not to look at just one region (this post about UK trends is the first step to a broader post on global trends) but to see what's happening all over the world. Nevertheless, thanks for the link - what would've really made my day was if you'd added it to the list of Peer-review papers on advancing springs. I've gone and done that just now.
  31. Geo Guy, not to get into dueling cites but clearly the picture is not quite as muddy as first impressions from a single article may suggest. Here's the general state of things as they stood in 2008, from an article I selected in honor of Skeptical Science based as it is in Australia:

    Numerous (mostly Northern Hemisphere) studies have collated information on global changes in phenological events in response to recent climate change (Hughes 2000; Walther, Post et al. 2002; Hughes 2003; Parmesan and Yohe 2003; Root, Price et al. 2003; Chambers 2006; Parmesan 2007; Miller-Rushing and Primack 2008; Rosenzweig, Karoly et al. 2008). A recent study of 28 880 records of (mostly phenological) changes in biological systems throughout the world in the past 30 years has shown that 90% of the changes are consistent with changes in temperature (Rosenzweig, Karoly et al. 2008). Climate change due to greenhouse gas emissions over the past 50 years is more likely to have caused these changes rather than natural climatic variability (Rosenzweig, Karoly et al. 2008).

    Potential Biological Indicators of Climate Change: Evidence From Phenology Records of Plants Along the Victorian Coast
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  32. Geo Guy #30

    Parmesan 2003 is a very comprehensive study about biological responses to global warming, analysing phenomena in every continent, including migration patterns, blooming, species distribution, among others.
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  33. fig1:
    I can see a unit root there in that plot, with the naked eye
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  34. What was it about the period around 1780 that caused flowers to bloom earlier than in the period around 1980 when the IPPC (and Mann) tells us it was much warmer than anytime in the past several hundred years?
    Could there be some other blooming reason?
    How can anyone conclude that this is a "very robust piece of research, and again confirms the reality of AGW." Especially when the authors acknowledge the chance for such a large error in the early data.
    Shouldn't we be just a little skeptical about any conclusions.
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  35. Although we are 'stuck with' the term "Global Warming", climate researchers don't particularly like this term, and for good reason.
    While there has clearly (i.e. "unequivocally"!) been an increase in globally averaged temperatures over the past century, the absolute magnitude of the change is small, albeit significant in its impact. Long-term warming trends are overprinted locally on annual and decadal scale by weather patterns, ocean circulation, solar variability, changes in stratosperic ozone, and other controls. For this reason, not all geographic locations show the same magnitude of warming at all times. This is why larger scale regional trends over longer time periods are needed to demonstrate the impact of AGW, which is what this study has done.

    If one becomes too focused on shorter term weather events or local anomalies, it becomes difficult to 'see the orchard for the trees'. In this regard, Argus should take full advantage of his many eyes to consider the scientific evidence, as noted by JMurphy here and here.

    Moreover, at #30, Geo Guy asked,

    "Now IF higher levels of atmospheric CO2 was the main driving force of climate change, and since the CO2 content quote is for the entire atmosphere, we should expect to observe similar data from two maritime environments such as the UK and Atlantic Canada, but we don't. To me that suggests there is more at play wrt climate change than simply higher levels of CO2."

    The answers are:

    1) No, we would NOT necessarily expect to observe similar climatic trends at such geographically disparate locations. Therefore, the reported trends in Nova Scotia (assuming they've been accurately recorded and interpreted) neither prove nor disprove AGW, but DO provide an example the risks I mentioned above.

    and

    2) Yes, there is a great deal more at play w.r.t. climate change than simply higher levels of CO2. Anyone wishing to understand the nature of climate change MUST understand the magnitudes of the contributions made by other climate drivers and feedbacks in addition to AGHGs. This represents the very foundation of the theory of AGW.

    And finally, I note once again that dire warnings about "climate alarmism" are themselves a form of alarmism. "Climate alarmism" may exist, but is in scant evidence in the peer-reviewed scientific literature.
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  36. Doug Cannon, we don't live 260 years ago, we live in the present, where we are the dominant species on the planet to the point that geologists are in the middle of a discussion looking as though it'll lead to the naming of a new unit of geological time, the "anthropocene."

    If you point your browser to Google Scholar and use the search term "phenological evidence of climate change" you'll produce a list somewhat shy of 21,000 items.

    You'll find a lot of papers with characteristics broadly resembling this abstract:

    We evaluated spring phenology changes from 1965 to 2001 in northeastern USA utilizing a unique data set from 72 locations with genetically identical lilac plants (Syringa chinensis, clone ldquoRed Rothomagensisrdquo). We also utilized a previously validated lilac-honeysuckle ldquospring indexrdquo model to reconstruct a more complete record of first leaf date (FLD) and first flower date (FFD) for the region from historical weather data. In addition, we examined mid-bloom dates for apple (Malus domestica) and grape (Vitis vinifera) collected at several sites in the region during approximately the same time period. Almost all lilac sites with significant linear trends for FLD or FFD versus year had negative slopes (advanced development). Regression analysis of pooled data for the 72 sites indicated an advance of –0.092 day/year for FFD (P=0.003). The slope for FLD was also negative (–0.048 day/year), but not significant (P=0.234). The simulated data from the ldquospring indexrdquo model, which relies on local daily temperature records, indicated highly significant (P<0.001) negative slopes of –0.210 and –0.123 day/year for FLD and FFD, respectively. Data collected for apple and grape also indicated advance spring development, with slopes for mid-bloom date versus year of –0.20 day/year (P=0.01) and –0.146 (P=0.14), respectively. Collectively, these results indicate an advance in spring phenology ranging from 2 to 8 days for these woody perennials in northeastern USA for the period 1965 to 2001, qualitatively consistent with a warming trend, and consistent with phenology shifts reported for other mid- and high-latitude regions.

    Climate change and shifts in spring phenology of three horticultural woody perennials in northeastern USA

    This is happening now, and it's congruent with numerous other predictions regarding anthropogenic climate change.

    This is another case where we may tease doubt out of a single study in a single field or even many studies in the same field, but once again it turns out be another part of large puzzle, a piece that fits according to prediction and helps to complete the picture we believe will emerge when all parts are present.
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  37. Doug Cannon, a few years here or there do not prove or disprove anything, as the most recent localised cold Winter should already have told you. Look for trends, especially significant ones, and be aware of the uncertainty range - as you mentioned but seem to have immediately dismissed.

    There could be many reasons why a year or two around 1780 experienced possible early flowering, one of them perhaps to do with the ENSO. Have you already discounted it ?
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  38. Seems to me this is a classic case of ecological complexity being difficult to reconcile with the obvious reality of global warming. Clearly warming temperatures would be expected to lead to earlier flowering times as both germination and development processes were speeded up. Trouble is there are many other factors as well (timing and amount of rainfall, incidence of frosts, cloudiness) which different species will react to in different ways. In addition the British landscape is very much an artificial creation of humans over a long time, and species characteristics have been greatly affected by human activity as well, these are not like, say, native species of flowering plants in an Australian woodland.

    So all of that would be expected to give considerable variability in species flowering response to global warming, and averaging it all out (with the added modification of an index) would tend to reduce the apparent effects. So I am not surprised that the graph really doesn't show anything clearly. You would be better taking a few species (and the authors do give a couple of examples in hawthorn and blackthorn) which do show a clear response.

    But of course if you did that the deniers would immediately pretend that these examples weren't significant, "what about the other species?", just as they do with glacier data (which has similar variety of responses depending on geography).

    But interesting stuff, as more and more data comes in showing that global warming isn't just an ideological game for the right wing shock jocks, and an economic game for oil companies, but has real world consequences which are going to seriously affect a 7 billion strong species dependent on plants for food.
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  39. Doug Cannon, did you see the margins of error for the data for the 18th & 19th centuries? That alone can explain why the "average" FFI is about as high as in the 1980's. What really matters, in my opinion, is to look at the downward trend in the FFI over the past 70 years, when we know human activity has been changing the composition of the atmosphere.
    Another point is the supposed resilience of nature to human-induced climate change events. Though its certain that the planet will recover/survive our irrational acts of vandalism-in evolutionary time-its not as certain that it will recover in sufficient time to save the human civilization, which has a much narrower comfort zone for change than the natural world.
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  40. In reply to Doug Cannon @#34, yes, we should always be 'just a little skeptical of any conclusions', however, in all cases we are obligated to make a sincere effort to gain an unbiased understanding of what those conclusions are.
    The reason the authors included the horizontal solid black lines and the horizontal dashed line was to enable us to see the longer term trends, rather than be distracted by short-term deviations.

    The early blooms ~1780 are indeed strange! I'm sure it was the 'talk of the town' in London at the time, particularly so because it occurred in the midst of the so-called "Little Ice Age"! Mann et al. (1998)asserted that temperatures during the last part of the 20th century were the warmest in the past millennium. This conclusion may have been a bit of a "stretch", but at minimum it was "plausible". In either case, I frankly do not understand the obsession about the "hockey stick". If we allow that climate may have varied more in the past than would appear from the hockey stick diagram (ignoring its large error bars), what would this tell us about the validity of AGW? Nothing.

    In any case, can we not allow the poor hockey stick to rest in peace? Science has moved on. We should too. The National Research Council Study (2006) concluded that:

    "It can be said with a high level of confidence that global mean surface temperature was higher during the last few decades of the 20th century than during any comparable period during the preceding four centuries."

    The current study is consistent with that conclusion, and as there is no supportable explanation for 20th Century warming other than AGW, it provides yet more support for the theory, particularly with the accuracy of the surface temperature data under vigorous attack from "skeptics".

    Remember, Flowers have no political agenda (other than to make baby plants!).
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  41. 20.JMurphy
    Interesting report although my personnel views on biodiversity are more pragmatic.

    This from the web summary.
    "this Lost life report identifies nearly 500 animals and plants that have become extinct in England – practically all within the last two centuries. It also highlights how habitat loss, inappropriate management, environmental pollution and pressure from non-native species have all played a part in the erosion of England’s biodiversity."

    No mention of climate change. It's likely habitat loss is the most significant here not a shift of 10 days in the onset of spring. I think you have mis-labelled this as a report about climate change.

    Many conservationists are begin to suggest that the focus on climate change is a distraction from issues associated with an expanding global human population. Again my personnel views are somewhat different on this issue also.

    Finally if there is no catastrophe looming then it begs the question why we are arguing about this problem? I'm happy to agree that this is not significant enough a problem to make us reconsider our future ecomonic development for.
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  42. 23.Alexandre
    I prefer Fow News myself!
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  43. 32.Alexandre
    I have issues with describing these phenology papers as global. The vast majority of this sort of data is NH, more specifically Europe and N. America.

    For example you describe the Parmesan paper as "analysing phenomena in every continent"

    when this is their own description "All studies were conducted in temperate Northern Hemisphere, except for 194 species in Costa Rica and 5 species in Antarctica"

    Global??
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  44. @ quokka post 11 - thanks mate, exactly what I was looking for. And I'll look out for the new paper JC refers too.
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  45. @ HumanityRules post 41

    "No mention of climate change. It's likely habitat loss is the most significant here not a shift of 10 days in the onset of spring. I think you have mis-labelled this as a report about climate change..."

    No credible scientist has made such a claim. Habitat loss and extinction over the past few centuries are due to multiple causes (development, deforestation).

    Climate change is *another* human induced cause of the extinciton etc.

    Have you *read* the paper and looked at the 25 year intervals. Can you note how that correlates with our understanding of climate change over the past 100 years? This is exactly what was predicted.

    To claim otherwise is a little disingenuous.

    And "many conservationists" question climate change?

    That would be who?

    Your last statement suggests you are a fan of the Bjorn Lomborg.
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  46. Personnal data from my garden

    -Pear tree in full bloom 15 days earlier then average this spring

    - Cherry tree in full bloom 4 days earlier then average

    - apple tree still not even a single bloom, should be in full bloom in 3-4 days, don't think it's gonna make it.

    Average based on six years of record keeping.

    O/T - a very good discussion on solar/climate is happening right now on Wuwt. Svalgaard and Scafetta, plus some others I do not recognize

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/04/12/levy-walks-solar-flares-and-warming/#comments
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  47. I think this should put to bed any "controversy" on the warming/solar flare issue:

    http://wotsupwiththat.wordpress.com/2010/04/13/levy-walks-solar-flares-and-warming/
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  48. Marcus - "Though its certain that the planet will recover/survive our irrational acts of vandalism-in evolutionary time-its not as certain that it will recover in sufficient time to save the human civilization, which has a much narrower comfort zone for change than the natural world."

    How are humans not natural? Unless the bible is right and we were created by an omniscient being, which I doubt, then we must have evolved as all other natural things have for the past 14 billion years. Don't forget that as a species, we have inhabited this planet for approx. 200K years, thus we have survived through at least 2 ice ages, and 2 warming periods.

    As for the irrational acts of vandalism, why did an inteligence evolve within the species, that has made the actual life for more and more of our breed to be more satisfying and comfortable these last few thousand years? Again, I say a natural evolvolution, as all are, to promote the species that you are associated with. Do you think that Lions and Hyennas get along fine on the Savannah? Not, the lions will, when it is advatageous to them, kill close habitating Hyennas.

    I wish we could drop this guilt that humans are somehow not natural, therefore bad to nature. Sorry, gotta plead innocent on that charge, Humans are as natural as any virus. :)
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  49. Leo, sorry, I have to keep pointing out that we're not mindless like bacteria or a tropical cyclone or a nest of ants. We're of nature but we don't act like nature. Or at least we shouldn't. I'm not a religious person but I think the Bible has some stuff to say about that, something about stewardship which implies a sense of responsibility and thus mindfulness.

    So we needn't feel guilty unless we have reason.
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  50. @ Leo G post 48

    "...How are humans not natural? Unless the bible is right and we were created by an omniscient being, which I doubt, then we must have evolved as all other natural things have for the past 14 billion years. Don't forget that as a species, we have inhabited this planet for approx. 200K years, thus we have survived through at least 2 ice ages, and 2 warming periods..."

    It may very well that we survive as a species, however the transition period may be difficult.

    As a species we number <6bn. However, our global civilisation rests on same fragile foundations: a global food supply network; advanced medical technology; sophisticated global logistic network that allows trade etc.

    As the global financial crises clearly indicated, a disruption to a key component of a sophisticated network can have profound effects.

    Remember, 70,000 years ago the human population was reduced to a around to >15,000 individuals: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toba_catastrophe_theory

    There are also other instances of genetic bottlenecks in evolutionary history, not just for H.Sapiens.

    This is where the denial movements fails completely to understand what we are saying: civilisation is a precious thing that we should both celebrate and protect.

    Climate change is a threat to our advanced, industrial civilisation. We want to mitigate the impact and the damage it could cause. Nothing more, nothing less.

    To draw an analogy: it's like when the Americans ignored all the warning signs that lead to Pearl Harbour; or when the Soviets ignored the massive preponderance of evidene pointing to a massive German invasion. Neither went well.

    The science supporting climate change is *valuable intelligence* that should be informing our political and economic debates.

    Instead, we are stuck at the "denial phase".
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