Thursday 27th October 2016                 Change text size:

Flowering earlier than expected

Flowering earlier than expected

There is nothing better than waking up one spring morning to see that the flowers are beginning to bloom. However, as a new report suggests, scientific models are failing to accurately predict the impact of global warming on plants.

The report published in the journal Nature reviews long-term studies that suggest plants are flowering up to eight times faster than models anticipate. The authors of the report propose that poor study design and lack of investment in experiments partly account for the differences, and that research methods should be re-evaluated.

For more than 20 years, scientists have assumed that plants would respond in essentially the same way to experimental warming lamps as they would to climate change.

The study, led by Dr Elizabeth Wolkovich, involved reviewing the timing of the flowering and leafing of plants through observational studies and warming experiments across four continents and 1,634 plant species.

Another lesson learnt.

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