Wherever You Live, Changing Climate is Shifting Spring

TidalbasinThe Associated Press has a great roundup the local impacts of a delayed spring thanks to climate change:

The capital’s famous cherry trees are primed to burst out in a
perfect pink peak about the end of this month. Thirty years ago, the
trees usually waited to bloom till around April 5.

In central California, the first of the field skipper sachem, a drab
little butterfly, was fluttering about on March 12. Just 25 years ago,
that creature predictably emerged there anywhere from mid-April to

And sneezes are coming earlier in Philadelphia. On March 9, when
allergist Dr. Donald Dvorin set up his monitor, maple pollen was
already heavy in the air. Less than two decades ago, that pollen
couldn’t be measured until late April.

Pollen is bursting. Critters are stirring. Buds are swelling. Biologists are worrying.

“The alarm clock that all the plants and animals are listening to is
running too fast,” Stanford University biologist Terry Root said.

Blame global warming

And here’s where it gets even more interesting:

What’s happening is so noticeable that scientists can track it from
space. Satellites measuring when land turns green found that spring
“green-up” is arriving eight hours earlier every year on average since
1982 north of the Mason-Dixon line.

The key message in all this is that when you’re talking to your friends about climate change, avoid talking about icebergs, glaciers and polar bears. Yes, those are all critical impacts of climate change, but they’re all very far from home (apologies to our Alaskan and Canadian readers … this is me looking north, waving hello).

Instead, try to focus on the impacts in your community:

  • If you’re in Seattle, talk about how global warming is making the water too warm for salmon (a major food source for orcas)
  • If you’re in Minnesota, talk about how global warming has devastated moose populations
  • If you’re in Florida, talk about coral bleaching and the ripple effects on all the species sustained by reefs

NWF.org makes it easy for you to learn more about how your community’s climate is changing. Check out our state fact sheets!