DC Cherry Blossoms Usher In an Early Spring

Written by Erin Myers Madeira on . Posted in Learn

This year is the 100th anniversary of the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC, and the bloom is making headlines — for starting too early!

The official “blooming period” started yesterday, BEFORE the 6-week festival officially begins on Wednesday, and is predicted to be fading well before the average peak time (April 4). That may translate to significant economic consequences for our cash-strapped city.

What’s going on? Global Warming. As average global surface temperatures rise, the average annual blooming dates for many flowering plants are expected to occur earlier in the season.

Recent research from the University of Washington asserts the cherry blossoms are an ideal indicator of climate change given their sensitivity to temperature, and found that the bloom process could eventually begin as early as January!

Check out the full story on the front page of the Washington Post last week.

Erin Myers Madeira is a Forest Carbon Senior Advisor for The Nature Conservancy

Photo by: Flickr user robeposse (Cherry blossoms frame the Washington Monument on the Washington, D.C. Tidal Basin, 2011) Used under a Creative Commons license.

Photo 2 by: Flickr user paribus (Close-up of cherry blossoms in Washington, DC) Used under a Creative Commons license.

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Planet Change is a Nature Conservancy blog site designed to share stories about actions the Conservancy and others around the world are taking to fight carbon pollution and the impacts of climate change, and to help people feel the connections between climate change and their daily lives and understand actions they can take.

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