Spring Arrives Weeks Early Across United States

Posted: Feb 28 2017, 11:15pm CST | by , Updated: Feb 28 2017, 11:29pm CST, in News | Latest Science News

 

Spring Arrives Weeks Early Across United States
Credit: USGS
 

A new series of maps produced by the US Geological Survey shows just how ahead of schedule spring is across much of United State

An early spring is sweeping across United States this year. In some regions it is coming up to three weeks ahead of schedule, which is beyond the usual trend.

A number of natural phenomena are closely related to local weather conditions and broad climate patterns. When spring comes sooner, it changes the timing of when plants and trees first leaf out and bloom as well as the migration of birds and animals.Moreover, changes in the timing of spring can affect human health, bringing bugs like ticks and mosquitoes and causing outbreaks of diseases. 

US Geological Survey have created a series of maps to show how early the spring is popping up in much of United States. As nature’s clock is runnig fast, crocuses, tulips and other plants are sprouting leaves and flowers earlier than usual from Arizona to New Jersey and Florida. Cherry blossom trees have already begun showing their characteristic pink color in Washington.

“While these earlier springs might not seem like a big deal – and who among us doesn’t appreciate a balmy day or a break in dreary winter weather -- it poses significant challenges for planning and managing important issues that affect our economy and our society.” Dr. Jake Weltzin, a USGS ecologist said in a statement.

USGS maps reveal that spring is making an early appearance in almost the entire Southeastern US, from San Antonio to Atlanta to Washington, D.C.  In cities such as Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, and Columbus, Ohio, spring has arrived about a month earlier than long term average from 1981 to 2010. 

Early spring season corresponds with warm temperatures across the country. So, these findings provide yet another evidence of climate change altering seasonal weather conditions across the Northern Hemisphere.

To build the maps, researchers used models called the Spring Leaf and Bloom Indices. The appearance of the first tiny leaves on the trees, as in this case, leafing and blooming in lilacs and honeysuckles allowed researchers to track the start of the spring across the country.  Researchers also gathered recent nationwide heat and temperature data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

When the researchers applied the plant models to the recent weather data, they were able to create national-scale daily maps of leaf emergence for these plant species.  Then, by comparing these modern data with historical ones, they created maps that showed just how different this year is relative to the long-term average in the past 30 years.

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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