The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Cherry Blossoms Are Blooming Across Japan. It's October.
Each year, Japan's iconic cherry blossoms herald the arrival of spring. But after a bout of extreme weather, blooms are being reported several months early.
The Japanese weather site Weathernews said it had received more than 350 reports of blossoms throughout the country. The flowers usually appear in March or April.
It's not unusual for sakura to arrive ahead of schedule, however experts said it's rare for the flowering to be so widespread.
"We get reports every year of cherry blossom blooming early, but those are confined to specific areas," Toru Koyama, a senior official with the Flower Association of Japan, told Reuters. "This time we are hearing about it from all over the country."
Koyama explained that the leaves of cherry blossom trees contain a chemical that suppresses the pink and white flowers from blooming. But two powerful typhoons this September—including devastating Typhoon Jebi—stripped the trees of their leaves or exposed them to salt water. Without the presence of the growth-inhibitors, the trees flowered early.
What's more, temperature swings brought by the storms may have tricked the bulbs into thinking it was spring.
The early blooms should not spoil the 2019 hanami, or the traditional flower-viewing season. The number of flowers blooming early is still small, so viewers are unlikely to notice much difference, Koyama added.
Regardless of this year's major storms, cherry blossoms in Japan are emerging increasingly early, and scientists say that climate change is likely the culprit.
The Economist reported:
From its most recent peak in 1829, when full bloom could be expected to come on April 18th, the typical full-flowering date has drifted earlier and earlier. Since 1970, it has usually landed on April 7th. The cause is little mystery. In deciding when to show their shoots, cherry trees rely on temperatures in February and March. Yasuyuki Aono and Keiko Kazui, two Japanese scientists, have demonstrated that the full-blossom date for Kyoto's cherry trees can predict March temperatures to within 0.1°C. A warmer planet makes for warmer Marches.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
‘Companies Should Not Be Allowed to Use Hazardous Ingredients in Products People Use’: Michelle Pfeiffer Speaks Up for Safer Cosmetics
The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.
Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.
The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.
By Julia Conley
Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.
The climate crisis is a major concern for American voters with nearly 40 percent reporting the issue will help determine how they cast their ballots in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, according to a report compiled by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Of more than 1,000 registered voters surveyed on global warming, climate and energy policies, as well as personal and collective action, 38 percent said that a candidate's position on climate change is "very important" when it comes to determining who will win their vote. Overall, democratic candidates are under more pressure to provide green solutions as part of their campaign promises with 64 percent of Democrat voters saying they prioritize the issue compared with just 34 percent of Independents and 12 percent of Republicans.
President Donald Trump has agreed to sign a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that will help Americans still recovering from the flooding, hurricanes and wildfires that have devastated parts of the country in the past two years. Senate Republicans said they struck a deal with the president to approve the measure, despite the fact that it did not include the funding he wanted for the U.S.-Mexican border, CNN reported.
"The U.S. Senate has just approved a 19 Billion Dollar Disaster Relief Bill, with my total approval. Great!" the president tweeted Thursday.