While writing this blog mid-March here in Punkaharju, outside the sun is shining and the temperature has raised over 5 ºC. The same kind of exceptional warm weather is foreseen for the coming ten days.
The snow is melting away rapidly. It is the third winter in row now that the skiing conditions here have been rather poor due to poor snow conditions. So next week we will drive all the way up to Lapland for a skiing Holiday.
At my bird feeding station at home a brambling, which should normally have migrated far more to the south, visited regularly during the whole winter. During recent winters also blackbirds have become more or less common visitors to my garden.
These, amongst many others, are certainly signs that something is changing in nature.
I am not the right person to draw a conclusion from these examples that climate warming is really happening, but these, amongst many others, are certainly signs that something is changing in nature. These changes worry me, in spite of the fact that the heating costs for my house have been exceptionally low for the last few years.
Also during this time of the year the days are getting rapidly longer towards the beautiful darkles summer nights in June and July. Some of my most melancholic Savon colleagues though, reminded me already that in only about three months it will be midsummer already, after which the days will shorten again towards the next dark winter.
The result of climate change, temperatures are changing in regards to the annual calendar, the light conditions remain the same.
This is indeed something one can be sure about. The changes in day length happen always at the same time during the year, regardless of weather or climate conditions.
In the temperate and boreal regions biological clocks of both flora and fauna are mainly driven by both temperature and changes in the light conditions. While, as the result of climate change, temperatures are changing in regards to the annual calendar, the light conditions remain the same. This may cause that biological clocks start to hamper.
Hampering biological clocks may also result in unexpected disasters.
For the major tree species in Finland, Scots pine, Norway spruce and birch, it is assumed that spring phenology (flushing and flowering) is drive mainly by temperature, whereas autumn phenology (growth cessation and leaf fall in birch) is mainly driven by light conditions. Based on this it is projected that the growing season of trees will be prolonged, especially during spring, because flushing will occur earlier during the year. It is also projected that this may result in an increase in wood production in Finland.
On the other hand, certain insects and caterpillars are for their feeding dependent on a certain stage of development of the fresh new foliar of the trees during spring. Certain birds again are for the feeding of their nests of young dependent on the abundant availability of certain insects and caterpillars. All these events have to be synchronized. Just one of them being out of time will result in starvation of the young birds.
Hampering biological clocks may also result in unexpected disasters when pests and diseases spread epidemically, such as happened recently in Canadian British Columbia with the mountain pine beetle.
It is very important that the biological processes keep running on time. To ensure this we should stop climate warming as fast as possible with all measures available.