Global warming: Need more proof?

Happy spring!
Daffaodils are blooming earlier, forcing flower festival organizers to move up the dates of their events.

Flower festival dates moved up by nearly a month since the late 1960s

Staff Report

FRISCO — A popular flower festival in the UK is now being help 26 days earlier than when it started back in 1946 because the daffodils are blooming earlier than ever, thanks to global warming.

Coventry University Professor Tim Sparks, an environmental science expert, focused on the changes made to the timing of the popular Thriplow Daffodil Weekend in Cambridgeshire since it started in 1969. The early flowering phenomenon is caused by the UK’s increasingly mild springs, specifically a mean rise in March and April temperatures of 1.8 degrees Celsius since 1969, according to his study, soon to be published  in the journal Climate Research.

The study follows a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which details the impacts of climate change – identifying vulnerable people, industries, and ecosystems around the world.

Thriplow’s daffodil festival – which this year takes place on April 5th and 6th – attracts around 10,000 visitors each year to the village, and is one of many events making up the UK’s fruitful flower and tree tourism trade. Over £300,000 has been raised for charity since the daffodil weekend started in 1969, but it has faced its fair share of challenges over the years – such as in 1979 when just a single daffodil was in flower.

Unusually, the date for the 2014 festival was recently rearranged backwards by two weeks in response to the abnormally cold and late spring of 2013, which the Met Office labelled the “coldest March since 1962”.

“Plant tourism in the UK and around the world is pretty big business, ranging from smaller nature reserves to globally-renowned, country-wide cherry blossom festivals that have significant economic implications,” Sparks said. “This study represents one of the first solid pieces of evidence of flower tourism having to adapt to climate change. The issues faced by Thriplow are a microcosm of the wider picture, and hopefully this research will raise awareness of the need for the industry to change to meet the challenges of rising temperatures across the world.”


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