Shifts in the timing of flowering and leafing in plants due to global warming appear to be much greater than estimated by warming experiments.
Predicting plant responses to climate change has important consequences for human water supply, pollination of crops and the overall health of ecosystems.
“This suggests that predicted ecosystem changes — including continuing advances in the start of spring across much of the globe — may be far greater than current estimates based on data from experiments,” said Elizabeth Wolkovich, an ecologist at the University of British Columbia
“These findings have extensive consequences for predictions of species diversity, ecosystem services and global models of future change,” said Elsa Cleland, an assistant professor of biology at UC San Diego.
E. M. Wolkovich, et al. Warming experiments underpredict plant phenological responses to climate change. Nature, 2012; DOI: 10.1038/nature11014