A warming climate brings earlier cherry blossoms
The much anticipated blooming of Toronto’s Sakura or Japanese cherry trees, including those at York University, is expected to happen in late April or early May. But these blooms are more than just pretty flowers.
Their blossoming times have been recorded by emperors, aristocrats and monks since the year 854, allowing biology researchers to better understand shifts in global climates.
Biology Professor Sapna Sharma has studied cherry blossom flowering times from the writings of monks in Japan to understand changes in climate. Her research shows changes in blooming times coincide with increased rates of warming around the start of the Industrial Revolution.
“In recent years, cherry blossom trees have flowered earlier than at any point in the past 1,200 years consistent with climate warming in Kyoto, Japan,” said Sharma.
Tree rings, corals and ice core data has also shown surface air temperatures globally are warmer than in the past 1,300 to 1,700 years.
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