I told you it was warm …

February 10, 2008 at 4:13 pm | Posted in Botany, Climate change, Crocus, Daffodils, Environment, Kew Gardens, Nature, Temperatures, Windsor Great Park | Leave a comment

Cluster of crocuses in Windsor Great Park 10 February 2008

Lone crocus outside Eton College 1 February 2008The daffodils in full bloom on Peanut Roundabout in the first week of January, and the lone yellow crocus in Eton the last week of January are par for the course, this year. Today we saw several clusters of purple croci in Windsor Great Park, and the birds were singing as though it were spring already. I shall show you my photos of luscious hawthorn leaves tomorrow!

Here’s more witness from The Times 11 February 2008:

A nation in bloom as the temperature rises

Paul Simons

Barbecues and sunbathing were the order of the day when Britain enjoyed some of its hottest-ever February weather at the weekend.

On Saturday the 16.6C (61.9F) heat in London broke records held for February 9 for more than a century. The last time temperatures neared that level on that day was 105 years ago, when it was 16.3C.

Yesterday the temperature again broke the 16C barrier at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew. Climate experts there expect the blooming of flowers to surpass the premature dates recorded last year. The opening of their daffodils occurred on January 16, a week before 2007 – and 11 days ahead of the recent average. The English hawthorn is expected to flower by the end of the month, more than eight weeks before it normally would. Crocuses opened 11 days in advance of the past decade’s average.

Since 1952 Kew has recorded when different flowers open, about a hundred being monitored, with year-on-year changes tracked. Early blooms indicated that climate change was having an increased impact, Nigel Taylor, the curator, said.

The bloomings “are months earlier than the norm, and given that they are species that have evolved in the vagaries of the English climate, the more remarkable because one would expect them not to react so easily to milder weather in winter”, he said. “This suggests the changes in our climate are more far-reaching than previously seen.”

Mild southerly air swept up from North Africa and the mid-Atlantic on a powerful anticyclone that also gave glorious blue skies.

The remarkable warmth spread far across Britain, with North Wales close to breaking a temperature record as warm air spilt down the mountains in a föhn wind effect, better known in the Alps where winds blowing down mountainsides can become compressed and heat up like a bicycle pump.

The signs are for an early spring getting under way in many places. Last month was the ninth warmest January on record with an average temperature for central England of 6.6C (43.9F), in archives going back 349 years. So far, February has continued unusually warm, 2C above normal, with frogs spawning and birds nesting. Parts of England and Wales have seen hardly a snowflake all winter, and although cold snaps could return, the long-range forecasts point to more balmy days.

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