Spring Coming Earlier?

Friday’s storm system has moved out and the next big story weather-wise is the big warm-up on the way!  The long range outlooks call for warmer than normal temps for the rest of the month and even through spring.  Jeremy and I have been wondering all week if that might be it for winter and then wondering if we have really jinxed us all for even suggesting that winter might be over.  Then I saw this and thought it might be worth sharing…

According to data compiled by Climate Central and a study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin spring is coming earlier than it used to.  That is especially true in New England!  On average, spring is arriving about 5 days earlier in Massachusetts than it did in the 1960s and 1970s.  As I mentioned in a previous blog, there are a lot of definitions of spring.  In this case, "spring" is defined as the arrival of the first leaf.  In other words, the plants are blooming earlier and earlier.  Nationwide, the average is about 3 days earlier.  If we don’t do anything to curb climate change, "spring" will come about 21 days earlier on average by 2100. 

That may sound like great news to spring lovers, especially if it means we are less likely to repeat last winter.  But the news isn’t all good.  For us, an earlier warming can make the allergy season worse.  Pollen counts have already increased over the last century.  As for the plants, if they bloom before winter is really over, they become vulnerable to frost damage.  Plus, plants risk becoming out of sync with pollinators.  If agricultural plants bloom before their needed pollinating insects are available, food crops could become threatened. 

For now just know that we will likely see a few 60 degree readings this week and possibly a few 70s.  As for records, we will be close but probably just shy of record breaking high temps.