Spring is springing earlier in polar regions than across the rest of earth

Spring is springing earlier in polar regions than across the rest of earth
Spring is springing earlier at northern latitudes, such as in Greenland, than it is at lower latitudes. For instance, while spring in the midwestern United States may now occur about one day earlier than it did a decade ago, it's occurring about 16 days earlier than it did 10 years ago in the Arctic. Credit: Eric Post/UC Davis

Spring is arriving earlier, but how much earlier? The answer depends where on Earth you find yourself, according to a study led by the University of California, Davis.

The study, published in Nature's online journal Scientific Reports, found that for every 10 degrees north from the equator you move, spring arrives about four days earlier than it did a decade ago. This northward increase in the rate of advance is roughly three times greater than what previous studies have indicated.

For example, at southern to mid latitudes such as Los Angeles, New Orleans, or Dallas, the study suggests spring might be arriving a mere one day earlier than it did a decade ago. Farther north, in Seattle, Chicago, or Washington DC, it might be arriving four days earlier. And if you live in the Arctic, it might be arriving as much as 16 days earlier.

"This study verifies observations that have been circulating in the scientific community and popular reports for years," said lead author Eric Post, a Fellow of the John Muir Institute and polar ecologist in the UC Davis Department of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology. "Yes, spring is arriving earlier, and the Arctic is experiencing greater advances of spring than lower latitudes. What our study adds is that we connect such differences to more rapid springtime warming at higher latitudes."

Spring is springing earlier in polar regions than across the rest of earth
A nest of bird eggs in Greenland. Spring is advancing earlier in the polar regions and other high latitudes than it does at lower latitudes, according to a UC Davis study. Credit: Eric Post/UC Davis

Accelerated Spring

The study is the most comprehensive analysis to date of springtime advance, or phenology, as you move north with latitude. Such signs include birds migrating, flowers blooming, amphibians calling and the emergence of leaves.

The researchers analyzed 743 previously published estimates of the rate of springtime advance from studies spanning 86 years across the Northern Hemisphere, as well as rates of springtime warming over the same range of years and . Even after accounting for differences in the length, time, and location of those previous studies, the relationship between earlier springs and higher latitudes was strong.

Spring is springing earlier in polar regions than across the rest of earth
Cottongrass blow in the Greenland wind. Spring is advancing earlier in the polar regions and other high latitudes than it does at lower latitudes, according to a UC Davis study. Credit: Eric Post/UC Davis

Unknowns For Migratory Species

Springtime provides important biological cues for many plant and animal species, and it is unclear how an accelerated spring could play out for these species across the planet.

The study notes that impacts to migratory birds are a potential concern. Many birds move from tropical zones to higher latitudes, such as the Arctic, to breed.

"Whatever cues they're relying on to move northward for spring might not be reliable predictors of food availability once they get there if the onset of at these is amplified by future warming," Post said. "The springtime emergence of the plants and insects they'll eat when they arrive is happening faster than the changes at the lower latitudes those birds are departing from."


Explore further

Melting sea ice may be speeding nature's clock in the Arctic

More information: Eric Post et al, Acceleration of phenological advance and warming with latitude over the past century, Scientific Reports (2018). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-22258-0
Journal information: Scientific Reports

Provided by UC Davis
Citation: Spring is springing earlier in polar regions than across the rest of earth (2018, March 2) retrieved 20 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-earlier-polar-regions-rest-earth.html
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Mar 02, 2018
All is not lost, Snippets from WSJ 3/2/2018:

"Researchers discover Adélie penguins are thriving, despite weather patterns and other concerns"

"On the Danger Islands of Antarctica, researchers have discovered one of the world's largest colonies of Adélie penguins, harboring more than a million birds of a species long thought to be succumbing to changing weather patterns and dwindling food supplies.

And in recent decades, their fortunes have shifted with long-term changes in the annual ice conditions on which they depend, with eight or more colonies along the Antarctic Peninsula vanishing.

For that reason, the discovery of such a large new colony surprised some scientists.

Dr. Lynch and her colleagues calculate that the entire Adélie penguin population in Antarctica now numbers more than 4.5 million breeding pairs—about 1.5 million more pairs than known 20 years ago.

Cont.

Mar 02, 2018
When they examined old aerial photographs of the region taken in 1957, they found evidence that the penguins were already in residence on the islands. "All the evidence suggests that population there has been stable since the late 1950s," Dr. Lynch said."

Mar 02, 2018
One example does not negate the article and the facts.

Mar 02, 2018
OMG you see this as an attempt to negate this article or any facts?

The red-bellied woodpecker currently at my suet feeder doesn't have an issue. Yesterday, a grackle showed up. It is way way before I have every seen one before. Robins don't even show up that early.

Could birds be taking advantage of the earlier Springs if that is true? Every year about the same time we see one or two Indigo Buntings on their way through. The feeders are right outside my home office window. We are in a rural environment. I don't know how it can survive with so much snow and ice, but it is here.

Get a life. You're just argumentative.

I shouldn't be responding but it is fun when you have finished your third beer.

Mar 04, 2018
Turgent, it's OK. Gkam is a strange creature.

We're experiencing weather, nothing more. Isn't it grand?

Mar 04, 2018
When I say "strange creature", I mean he has a dick growing from his forehead. His testicles clear his eyes though so it's only a little strange. Nothing to write home about.

Think "X-Men"

Mar 04, 2018
BackBurner
We're experiencing weather, nothing more. Isn't it grand?


When you don't know the difference between weather and climate - but think you are able to make a salient comment!!! I really only responded so I could track the comment above. I did report it. Hope physorg kicks you off. It is interesting that you team up with Turgent. Totally makes sense. Looks like you both like to drink too much - and then try to participate in discussion about complex topics...

Mar 04, 2018
G.O. I welcome those words of CharredGlute, signifying his loss of the discussion.

Mar 04, 2018
I suppose he turns into a real bonehead when he gets excited!!! G.O. you tattle tail, shame on you.

Mar 04, 2018
G.O. you tattle tail, shame on you
For wishing that I lived in a world where we could have informed conversations - without being bullied around by the pig monsters like Harvey Weinstein, and Back burner - who say things like this -
he has a dick growing from his forehead. His testicles clear his eyes though
It is no surprise that you would approve of such shitty behavior.

Mar 04, 2018
If I wasn't myself a degenerate I would ignore both. But for shite and giggles I can't.

George, when we first went hypersonic, what fuel did we use? Solar, wind, corn ethanol?

And what gas did we use to purge the tanks?


Mar 04, 2018
If I wasn't myself a degenerate
So I will quick give my take on this kind of declaration.

I gravitate to science and technology - as an atheist - who is interested in the development of the human species. I am confident that one day we will accomplish immortality. It seems just a continuation of the curve - of medical technology. Our progress right now seems bottle-necked. We seem stuck - unable to escape our violent history - and evolve into what could be our higher nature.

I interpret the antiscience crowd - and your comment above (also backburner's) as saying this. "I am an asshole. I am proud of being an asshole. I take pleasure in actively participating in keeping the species stuck."

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