Tuesday, February 20, 2024

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What Japan’s Early Cherry Blossom Bloom Means For Climate Change

For centuries, Japan has celebrated the Cherry Blossom season. However, this year marks the second earliest blooming event in 1,200 years, which showcases the effect climate change is having on our world.

And it’s not just Japan that loves these trees, you can also find them at the Tidal Basin in Washington D.C.

For those who are unfamiliar with cherry blossoms, these are flowers that have a very short window before they reach the peak. In fact, they typically only last for a week before they begin falling out of the tree.

However, for years, they have been blooming earlier and earlier. And in 2021, they entered full bloom on March 21st.

When Does A Cherry Blossom Normally Bloom?

Bloom

While the date has never been set in stone, the normal period for the nearly 1,200 years has been between April 10th and April 20th. Yet, during the twentieth century, the famous tree has been blooming earlier.

The plants will normally bloom during spring after the temperature warms up. However, this year, while the winter was very cold, the spring was unusually warm. This caused the tree to bloom almost a month earlier than normal.

And unfortunately, its not just tourists that this will affect; it’s nature itself.

What Does An Early Bloom Affect?

So I know what your thinking, what’s the big deal about an early bloom?

Well, it actually affects everything and this is not an exaggeration. Plants and animals rely on each other to tell what time of the year it is. This will actually help each one determine what stage in life they are at.

For instance, if plants and flowers are blooming, then the insects that pollinate them assume it is time to come out of hibernation. However, if they bloom too early there might not be any insects that are ready for pollination.

This can throw off their life cycles completely.

Eventually, they could be completely out of sync. And this is the worst-case scenario. You could have insects that come out of hibernation, but then have no plants to pollinate and get food from. As a result, they will starve to death.

On the flipside, without any insects to spread the plants seeds, the plants will die out over time.

And yes, this also affects mammals.

This Won’t Just Affect Wild Plants

Unfortunately, this early blooming is not just something that will affect wild plants, it will affect crops and have an economical impact.

In fact, it’s no secret that our food security is in jeopardy. In 2019, a report found that not only will food be scarce, but it will also be less nutritious as a result of climate change.

This will be the result of higher temperatures and frequent flooding.

To compensate for the changing climate, farmers will have to adjust the types of crops they grow, which will disrupt the food supply infrastructure of the world. This will also lead to higher prices for crops in general.

And if we don’t meet the Paris Agreements goal by 2050, these conditions will only worsen.

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Robert Giaquinto

Robert has been following and writing about environmental stories for years at GreenGeeks. He believes that highlighting environmentally friendly practices can help promote change in every household.

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