Bud Burst

Enjoying spring?. Soon you may have even more of a good thing. According to a detailed study published by a group of geophysicists associated with the American Geophysical Union, spring will start arriving 17 days earlier in the north, if we think of spring as the time flowering trees burst into blossom. Just so you are clear on this – spring will remain March 20 or 21 in the northern hemisphere (unless the Earth rolls over on its side); spring will continue to be the day that nights are 12 hours long, and then begin to shorten as we approach summer. But some smart geophysicists used their high power computers to model Future Earth, looking ahead to 2100 and found that climate changes already occurring will force tulip poplar and linden (basswood) as well as sourwood and acacia (black locust) to flower weeks early.

Alongside articles about dipolar magnetism and low-frequency seismic waves, the journal Geophysical Research Letters cites a simulation credited to four authors who projected budburst of deciduous North American trees, finding several troubling results. With a warmer climate, trees will blossom earlier (you don’t need your Princeton PhD to understand that). But according to the research, the various trees that once bloomed over a couple of months will cluster closer together, resulting in what the paper’s abstract euphemistically calls “the potential for secondary impacts at the ecosystem level.

This means your bees, of course. Instead of a long minor honey flow, they may have a more intense, short and sweet nectar rush. The change will happen over a few decades, so your management skills will have time to adapt. The other summary point the research makes: “We expect that these climate-driven changes in phenology will have large effects on the carbon budget of U.S. forests and these controls should be included in dynamic global vegetation models,” Ominously implying that the rate of climate change will accelerate, the so-called “Snowball Effect,” or, in this case, the “No Snowball Effect.”

About Ron Miksha

Ron Miksha is a bee ecologist working at the University of Calgary. He is also a geophysicist and does a bit of science writing and blogging. Ron has worked as a radio broadcaster, a beekeeper, and Earth scientist. (Ask him about seismic waves.) He's based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
This entry was posted in Bee Biology, Climate, Honey Plants, Science and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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