Climate change causes plants to flower earlier
Article by Wendy Koch, from USA TODAY
As the climate warms, many plants are flowering 8.5 times sooner than experiments had predicted, raising questions for the world’s future food and water supply, a new international study concludes.
Higher carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels can affect how plants produce oxygen, and higher temperatures can alter their behavior. Shifts in natural events such as flowering or leafing, which biologists call “phenology,” are obvious responses to climate change. They can impact human water supply, pollination of crops, the onset of spring (and allergy season), the chances of wildfires and the overall health of ecosystems.
To better understand this, scientists from 22 institutions in Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States studied 1,634 species of plants across four continents. They compared how plants responded based on historical monitoring data and on small-plot experiments in which warming was artificially induced.
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