British plants are coming into flower earlier as temperatures rise, according to a study published today which is based on nature records dating back 250 years.
The research, which draws on observations from members of the public, reveals that each 1C rise in temperature has seen blooms appearing five days earlier.
It also shows that despite this year's late signs of spring, caused by a cold winter, long term changes in temperature are taking place.
The change has been greatest in the past 25 years, with flowers coming out between two and 12 days earlier in the past quarter century than in any previous 25-year period.
These latest findings echo a study published in February in the journal Global Change Biology, which showed that animal reproduction had shifted forward by 11 days between 1976 and 2005.
The new study, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, used almost 400,000 records of annual first flowering dates for more than 400 species of plant such as hawthorn at sites across the UK.
Records stretching back to 1753 were used to create a 250-year index of the first flowering dates of the 405 species to show the impact of climate change.
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