Elena S. Laso |
Madrid (EFE).- Does spring come earlier every year?; With the climatic crisis, the signals of nature before the prelude to a new season are often altered; for example, an early flowering in winter that announces an incipient spring, but, for the moment, this year it does not seem like that.
“It is not yet known with certainty if today we are facing an early spring,” Rubén Del Campo, spokesman for the State Meteorological Agency (Aemet), explained to EFE, who, however, highlights a very specific fact: In Madrid, the flowering of the almond tree, one of the first fruit trees to flower, has already occurred, around 5-6 days earlier than usual.
The hatching date in Madrid of Prunus dulcis, a tree of the Rosaceae family and one of the first to announce spring, shows a slight forward trend in the last four decades, according to Aemet data that indicates that in February 2022 the almond trees were in full bloom in the third decade of the month in the surroundings of the capital.
As a curious fact, it should be noted that in 2021 -the year in which the Philomena storm left a historic and copious snowfall, in addition to an intense cold wave of more than 5 days- the flowering of the almond trees in Madrid was brought forward between 9 and 11 days, specified Del Campo, who has stressed that this year, for the moment, there is no “great seasonal advance”.
Global warming disrupts natural calendars
Phenology is the science that studies biological events in the animal and plant world such as leaf development and plant flowering in spring, fruit ripening and leaf fall in autumn, and breeding behavior. and migration of animals among other aspects.
In recent decades, when some climatic factor is altered as a consequence of global warming, for example, temperature parameters, fauna and flora species may register changes in their natural calendars.
Thus, this year in Extremadura, the cherry trees of Valle del Jerte (Cáceres) have accumulated some 600 hours of cold, amounts that are below the average for other campaigns and that, for the moment, are deficient to achieve optimum flowering and regular.
In phenology, flowering and pollination are determinant, but they are not unique parameters, because it is also interesting how cold hours affect them, which in the case of cherry trees is equivalent to an average of between 800 and 900 cold hours -between 0 and 7 degrees- for a correct preparation of flowering.
In Catalonia, months in advance
Another case is that of Catalonia, where, and with data from January, the wild plants of this community are flowering between three and five months earlier than usual, while the processionary caterpillars have been in the pine forests since last December, when the usual thing is to see them at the end of January.
At this point, Rubén Del Campo has emphasized that Aemet’s phenological studies, to date, show a small seasonal advance and although the last 30 days have left a winter environment, with widespread frost, however, he recalled that last December was “extremely warm”, the warmest in the historical series (1961).
What will happen from now on? For now, -the spokesman continued- the final part of this week and the first days of next week, higher than normal temperatures are expected with frosts that will gradually disappear little by little, and with values that this weekend will register between 18 and 20 degrees, even 22 degrees locally in large areas.
It will already be “spring temperatures”, but there is a lot of uncertainty because we still do not know if this spring trend will continue and what its consequences will be on the biology of flora and fauna, the Aemet spokesperson has concluded.