Experiments Underestimate Climate Change Impacts to Plants Print E-mail
Thursday May 17, 2012

Featured on USGS, a member of the U.S. Global Change Research Program

An woman seated in a field of wildflowers records observations

Recording how climatic variations and trends impact seasonal events in plants.
Credit: A. Miller-Rushing

As the climate has warmed, many plants are starting to grow leaves and bloom flowers earlier. A new study published in the journal, Nature, suggests that most field experiments may underestimate the degree to which the timing of leafing and flowering changes with global warming.

Understanding how plants are responding to climate change will help develop more accurate indicators of spring, forecast the onset of allergy season or the chances of western wildfires, manage wildlife and invasive plants, and help inform habitat restoration plans. In this new study, scientists evaluated the sensitivity of plants to changes in temperature using two sources: experimental plots versus historical observations from natural sites. Read more…