British Summer Arrives 18 Days Sooner Than It Did Half a Century Ago

summer flowers photo

photo: Thor via flickr.

Based on an examination of the first blooming dates of summer flowering plants and the first instances of typical summer temperatures, despite what the calendar my say, summer is arriving in Britain more than two weeks early than it did 50 years ago. That's the word coming from Professor Grant Bigg and Amy Kirbyshire of the University of Sheffield.Science Daily sums it up:

Results revealed that the occurrence of `summer´ temperatures has advanced by 11 days in the 1990s compared to the period 1954-1963, while early summer flowering has advanced by three days. If this analysis is extended to 2007, the advance reaches 18 days.

For the purposes of this research, the first flowering dates of 385 species of flower that bloom in May and June were used as the indicator of when summer began, with a mean temperature of 14°C chosen to represent summer's onset.

Prof. Bigg describes the motivation behind the research: "There has been a lot of attention paid to the shift to earlier springs but we've shown similar advancement in summer conditions. This could have the same implications as the shift to earlier springs for increased ecological divergences, as well as extending the time for summer weather extremes."

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