One way to distinguish "climate change" from "weather" is to consider how our seasons have been changing. Several independent studies, based on over 150 years worth of records, reveal that spring is coming much earlier now than it did in centuries past.
Photo of Walden Pond by ptwo
Over at the New York Times, Carl Zimmer covers this fascinating topic in his column. He introduces us to a naturalist named Richard Primack who has worked with historical records — including the work of Henry David Thoreau — to determine when spring came in the mid-nineteenth century versus in the early twenty-first.
As Dr. Primack writes in his new book "Walden Warming," spring has started earlier and earlier over the decades. It now arrives about three weeks sooner than in Thoreau's time.
The pattern Dr. Primack sees at Walden Pond is part of a grand, planet-wide march. Many studies — based both on observations in the field and on satellite images taken from space — indicate that spring is shifting earlier.
The changing spring is one of the most striking impacts attributed to global warming. But in both hopeful and troubling ways, new studies are showing that warming's effects are broader, affecting plants from spring to fall.
Because climate is a complex system, changes in it result in many different effects. Some plants appear to be thriving as a result of early spring, while others are facing troubles.
Read the whole article over at the New York Times