The Japanese cherry blossoms are a harbinger of spring. But Japan has just recorded its earliest cherry blossom season in 1200 years. Scientists say it’s another warning about the changing climate, CNN reported.

Source: South China Morning Post/YouTube

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In Kyoto in 2021, the cherry blossoms peaked on March 26, the earliest since 812 AD, when historical documents and diaries began recording the event. Yasuyuki Aono, a researcher at Osaka Prefecture University, shared the information.

The timing of blooms is dependent on multiple factors, including rainfalls and weather, but the trends have been moving earlier. For instance, the trees bloomed in mid-April for centuries into the 1800s.

“Sakura blooms are very temperature sensitive,” said Aono. “Flowering and full bloom could be earlier or later depending on the temperature alone. The temperature was low in the 1820s, but it has risen by about 3.5 degrees Celsius (6.3 degrees Fahrenheit) to this day.”

Scientists point to cherry blossoms as just one indicator of significant ecosystem change. Urbanization and climate change, which lead to higher temperatures, are also affecting the timing of the blossoms.

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“As global temperatures warm, the last spring frosts are occurring earlier and flowering is occurring sooner,” said Dr. Lewis Ziska from Columbia Universities Environmental Health Sciences.

Learn more about climate change affecting animal and plant life, including acidification harming Dungeness crabs, flowers changing color because of climate changethe mystery of dead birds across Alaska, turtles in Cape Cod Bay, lobsters off the coast of New England, climate change disrupting pollination cycles, and whales in the Gulf of Maine.

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