Global Warming

Spring coming sooner to Arctic

Nature’s clock is running fast in the Arctic, thanks to climate change. Due to diminishing sea ice cover, spring is coming sooner to some plant species in the low Arctic of Greenland, while other species are delaying their emergence amid warming winters, says a study.

The timing of seasonal events, such as first spring growth, flower bud formation and blooming make up a plant’s phenology – the window of time it has to grow, produce offspring, and express its life history. It can be called “nature’s clock.”

While how early a plant emerges from its winter slumber depends on the species, the study, published in the journal Biology Letters, demonstrates that the Arctic landscape is changing rapidly.

Such changes carry implications for the ecological structure of the region for years to come.

Warming winters and springs associated with declining arctic sea ice cover created a mixture of speed demons, slowpokes and those in between. One racehorse of a sedge species now springs out of the proverbial gate a full 26 days earlier than it did a decade ago.

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