Wait. It isn’t CO2 causing an early spring?
Human use of artificial light is causing spring to come at least a week early in the UK, researchers at the University of Exeter in Cornwall have found.
New research led by a team of biologists based at the University’s Penryn campus highlights for the first time and at a national scale the relationship between the amount of artificial night-time light and the date of budburst in woodland trees.
The study, the result of a long term collaboration with independent environmental consultants Spalding Associates, in Truro, made use of data collected by citizen scientists from across the UK, after the Woodland Trust asked them to note down when they first saw sycamore, oak, ash and beech trees in leaf as part of the charity’s Nature’s Calendar initiative. The research team analysed this, information, correlated with satellite images of artificial lighting.
The research, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, found that buds were bursting by up to 7.5 days earlier in brighter areas and that the effect was larger in later budding trees.