Study Says Early Springs More Frequent In Next 30 Years

Study Says Early Springs More Frequent In Next 30 Years

Warm springs in the Great Lakes and Northeast regions – which create havoc for growers – may start earlier by mid-century if greenhouse gas emissions are not reduced, according to a new Cornell University study published in Climate Dynamics.


Very warm springs have been anomalies, but this new analysis of climate model data shows an increased frequency to nearly one in every three years by the end of this century.

“The spring of 2012, with its summerlike warmth, brought plants out of dormancy and then had a lengthy freeze. This was a nightmare scenario for many growers, and it showed us a snapshot of what global warming might look like in this region,” said Toby Ault, Assistant Professor in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Cornell University, an author on the study.

Unusually warm temperatures early in spring 2012 led to the warmest March, breaking records in more than 15,000 U.S. sites.

Modeling shows that frequency and magnitude of early springs could occur more than a month earlier, for example, throughout the Great Lakes region by 2080.

“The time to act on curbing greenhouse gas emissions is now. If we don’t, years like 2012 – ruinous to farmers and producers – in the U.S. could become normal by 30 to 40 years from now in addition to a host of other impacts,” said Ault.

The researchers sought to understand seasonal-transition timing to offer strategies as climate change unfolds. To ensure their models are accurate, Ault said researchers distinguished and separated normal climatic variability from long-term atmospheric alterations by using a new ensemble of climate change simulations.

Meteorologists said March 2012, the earliest spring since 1900, prematurely interrupted winter plant dormancy. After a warm winter 2011-2012, some orchards blossomed earlier than usual that spring. Temperatures tumbled in April and crops were destroyed. Economic losses mounted.

The research was supported by the United States Geological Survey, the National Science Foundation, and the National Phenology Database at the USA National Phenology Network.


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Jeff Norman says:

Are these projections based on the correlations that the pseudo climate scientists have been using or the more recently validated statistical models which do not show global warming trends dependent on man-made causes? That is a key question.

Mojito says:

Thank you Jeff Norman. The research is probably based on polar bears or tree rings or a freeze in New York in 2012. All the same.

Larry Jacobs says:

Gentlemen, the debate is moot. As a grower I always plan on worst case scenarios. You may still believe that today’s weather isn’t the accumulative impact of our growing use of petroleum products releasing increasing amounts of CO2 and that’s your prerogative BUT IF you are wrong we all pay the piper. The prudent approach is assume reports correlating climate change with CO2 loading by our activities are correct and act accordingly. If you’re right……we’ve reduced are dependence of fossil fuels and cleaned up the atmosphere. If you’re wrong……maybe we’ll slow down this train wreck. Nothing is more damaging than “mother-nature” when she unleashes a hurricane, flooding or drought. Checkout the damage in Baja California Sur yesterday and today to crops and what Hermine did going through Florida and up the East Coast.

Mojito says:

With respect, your argument is similar to Pascal’s Wager except that the consequences of using scarce resources to chase a solution for man-caused climate change hurts real people in real ways. If you guess wrong and climate change is a natural phenomenon then you have wasted hundreds of billions if not trillions of dollars that could have gone to feeding the hungry, research to combat disease, solutions for the inner-cities, military preparedness, cyber-security counter measures and etc, etc. I am not convinced that politics and policy are following the science but rather are driving the science because of the money involved. The Cornell web page linked from this article lists the funding sources for the research at the bottom. There are lots of fingers in this pie and we owe it to the other priorities of this nation to be a little sceptical.

Dave Weinstock says:

While a bit of skepticism in any debate on research agendas is healthy, investigation is the key to informed debate.

The sum of research is its own debate. What we are seeing now is a fundamental shift in the paradigm that governs the consensus of the meteorological community’s underpinning theories. In time, yes, the global warming paradigm may be disproved, but it should only be disproved with further research by that same scientific community. That’s how paradigmatic revolution occurs within scientific communities, with the pursuit of knowledge.

The reality is that politics and policy will always drive research funding, because the political sector is where that control resides. Military technology, cybersecurity, disease…all of these research agendas were pushed to the front of the funding line by policymakers and special interest groups (e.g., defense contractors) in the same way that climactic research was.

A very good example of how policymakers affect change in funding prerogatives is at the advent of the Reagan administration, federal funding priorities abruptly changed within a single funding cycle from applied research to basic research. Almost overnight, hundreds of projects, which were previously at the top of the NSF research funding priority list, found themselves demoted to positions in the ranking that guaranteed they would not be funded.

My point is that no one is “guessing” on this question. Whether you believe climactic change should be a funding priority or you don’t, the ultimate decision on its importance to the world should be research-driven.

My experience in the last 20 years is that growth starts earlier and the trees are blooming earlier. There is some variation every spring depending on whether the spring is warm or cold, but the average bloom date is creeping forward and fruit crops are more susceptible to spring frost because they are more advanced.

Chemie Babe says:

I can’t help but notice that throughout history climate has changed. It doesn’t really matter if humans are here or not., climate changes. It will change even after we are long gone. I can’t get excited about man made climate change, I do worry about the reaction to the perceived threat. That my friends is the scary part.

Econ 101 says:

With earlier bloom and more spring frost damage reducing our over-production of crops, we won’t need as many migrant workers and the wall that will be built when Trump is elected won’t have to be as high, so Mexico can save some money and invest it in better social structure to keep people from wanting to leave anyway. Exxon-Mobile and Saudi Arabia stay solvent and we continue to frack the heck out of our shale oil fields, keeping American business and strategic alliances strong, and the price of produce always rises when supply decreases, so the money consumers save on gas can go to their grocery bills, higher prices to farmers, and everyone wins! It’s Econ 101…..

saftupelo says:

How is it possible to stop this so called global warming which I believe is a naturally occurring event not caused by man kind. I base my belief from doing my own research and by thinking for myself. Not by believing the preachers of fear doom and gloom. Man kind is as much a part of the natural world as is any other living thing on the planet. Having a warmer planet is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s not like the world is going to turn into a big desert where nothing will grow and survive. What I see is a much richer, vibrant, oxygen rich atmosphere with less dry desert areas with more green vegetation. Where more crops will be grown. This is a very big world that I am sure will take it’s natural course through time and change at it’s natural pace. After all the planet has been warmer before data proves that fact. All this hype that man is killing the planet is just one more tool used by the fear mongers to control the lives of the people. Which will lead to oppression, dis-pare and, more poverty around the world. Learn to think for yourselves people and stop believing everything your told.