Now Reading
UK scientists warn that global warming could lead to early plant blooms

UK scientists warn that global warming could lead to early plant blooms

On Wednesday, scientists in the UK stated that rising temperatures are causing some plants’ flowers to bloom almost a month earlier than usual. This poses a risk for frost damage and disrupted animal feeding cycles. 

A Study done by researchers at the University of Cambridge observed more than 400,000 bloom recordings of 406 tree, shrub, herb and climbing plant species across the United Kingdom. The average date of first blooming between 1987 and 2019 was 30 days earlier that the average date between 1753 & 1986.

The flowering patterns were kept in a database called “Nature’s Calendar,” which contains observations by scientists, naturalists, and amateur and professional gardeners going back over 200 years.  

Professor Ulf Bntgen, who conducted the research, stated that the results are “truly alarming” due to the ecological threats posed early flowering poses to the environment.

Bntgen added that springlike weather in the UK could become more common in the wintry month of February if global temperatures continue to increase at the current rate. This rapid change in the cycles could have an effect on forests, farms, and gardens. 

What are the potential risks of early plant flowering.

A late frost can cause damage or death to plants that bloom too early. However, researchers said the greatest threat is to wildlife like birds and insects that have evolved their development stages in synchronicity with flowering patterns of plants they rely on for survival. 

If these cycles are no longer in phase, the result is called an “ecological mismatch.”

In a press release, Bntgen stated that a certain plant attracts a specific type of insect. This attracts a certain type of bird. “But, if one component responds quicker than the other, there’s a chance that they’ll be out-of-synch, which could lead to species collapse if they don’t adapt quickly enough.”

See Also

The largest shift in earlier flowering at 32 days was made by herbs, which are capable of rapid genetic adaptation. Bntgen described the shift as “huge.”

Bntgen said that more data was needed to determine the impact of earlier flowering upon the larger ecosystem. 

In January, the United Nations reported that the past seven years have been the hottest ever recorded, with the average global temperature in 2021 around 1.11 degrees Celsius (2.4 F) above the preindustrial levels.

wmr/sms (AFP, Reuters)

View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.