Earlier blooming intensifies spring heat waves in Europe | Science News

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Earlier blooming intensifies spring heat waves in Europe

Effect, caused by climate change, dwindles by summer, simulation suggests

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6:00am, March 8, 2016
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SPRING FORWARD  The early arrival of springtime flowers and leaves due to climate change amplifies the intensity, frequency and duration of heat waves in Europe, new research suggests.

The early emergence of flowers and leaves due to climate change amplifies springtime heat waves in Europe, new climate simulations suggest. While not as deadly as their summertime counterparts, spring heat waves can disrupt ecosystems and damage crops.

Simulating a 30-day head start to spring’s natural beginning, researchers discovered that the shift alters water distribution in the environment and boosts the likelihood of spring heat waves by about 0.6 events per year. Since the 1970s, spring plant growth has shifted earlier in the year by around two to five days each decade in the Northern Hemisphere.

The heat waves also become more intense, with the average one lasting a day longer and reaching 1 degree Celsius warmer, the researchers report in a paper to be published in Geophysical Research Letters.

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