But Rosemartin, like Alonzo, cautioned against attributing early flowering directly to climate change. “But climate change is loading the dice each year.
There is a certain tendency for this. In 16 of the last 20 years, the peak of flowering occurred earlier than the historical average date of He April 4th. seven days Since 1912, when the first cherry trees, a gift from the mayor of Tokyo, were planted in the district, the average temperature around Tidal Basin has increased by about 2.5 degrees.
“It doesn’t surprise me [peak bloom] It was down at the end of March this year,” said Rosemartin. “Many plants dormant below 30 or 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Every day it’s a little warmer than that, they accumulate warmth.
But the phenological relationship is a complicated one, she added. A mild winter doesn’t necessarily mean faster flowering. “If they don’t feel the winter cold, it could be delayed,” she said.
Residents who flock outdoors to enjoy the warmth and vibrancy of spring are not oblivious to the district’s changing weather patterns. Chris Yates, who is in his mid-40s, said, “It was weird in the context of ‘It’s the first weekend in March and I’m wearing almost nothing for the winter weather.'”
“It feels wrong in the whole sense, but in that moment you’re like, ‘Oh, they’re pretty trees,'” he added.
What caused the alarm? It depends
According to Ritterst, the trees themselves don’t have to worry about an early spring. “They are a hardy species. They have experienced extreme temperatures in the summer and extreme cold in the winter,” he said.
However, the earlier it blooms, the more likely it is that late frosts will occur and damage the flowers. “This is the risk of false springs,” he says Rosemartin. “If it warms up early as it has in the past, frosts and blizzards at normal times can blow all the flowers away.”
It happened in March 2017, just as the trees were about to bloom. Three nights of temperatures below 25 degrees Fahrenheit led to the loss of about half of the tree’s petals.
A series of such freezes could not only bring an abrupt end to the district’s pink-and-white spectacle, but also affect local income. Washington’s annual cherry blossom festival is held in $100 million In economic activity in recent years, organizers say.
Parks Service’s Ritterst said, “When the flowers bloom, people flock here regardless of when it happens. Early flowering is less likely to deter visitors, but the lack of flowers is less likely to deter visitors.” He said it could be demotivating.
Sakura is also facing the reality of rising sea levels. Ritterst says the Tidal Basin is about four feet higher than it was when it was built 80 years ago. “More than 10 cherry trees had to be cut down because their roots cannot withstand the constant flooding.”