Nature is being fooled into flowering in a ‘second spring’ in November, reports Juliette Jowit at the London Guardian. Fruit, frogs, birds, insects, plants: they are all enjoying a warm autumn as the seasons go topsy-turvy. Ecologists are observing a rash of freak occurrences and oddities throughout England. Phenologists who track the subtle changes in the seasons over decades have reported for some time that plants and animals are breeding, flowering, fruiting and hibernating earlier and earlier. But this year earlier-than-ever autumn colours and fruits have been mixed with prolonged signs of summer wildlife such as dragonflies, butterflies and grass snakes, and spring flowers such as magnolia, apple blossom and honeysuckle blooming – making it a truly extraordinary season. Summing up this topsy-turvy behaviour, a swallow – whose arrival in northern Europe traditionally marks the start of summer – was spotted this month at a bird reserve. Nature is certainly alive with freak occurrences and oddities, but even ecologists agree that what is happening now in nature reserves, in gardens and along hedgerows and verges is remarkable, and compare it to the previously notable years of 1986 and 1975.
This is the sort of climate change predicted to occur under global warming as the entrapment of extra heat energy lengthens summers and warms autumns. Sounds sort of idyllic, doesn’t it? But this, in turn, gives false signals to various plants and animals that take their cue from temperature. Studies covered in previous Climate Change Reports podcasts (listen, for example, to the March 22, 2010 CCR Climate Change is Knocking Nature Off Balance at: http://cooltheearth.us/climate-report.php ) show these false signals can create ecological disconnects between pollinators and their host plants, detrimental to both them – and us.
Nature is fooled into flowering in a ‘second spring.’ This year earlier-than-ever autumn colours and fruits have been mixed with prolonged signs of summer wildlife such as dragonflies, butterflies and grass snakes, and spring flowers such as magnolia, apple blossom and honeysuckle blooming — making it a truly extraordinary season. London Observer