13 February 2024, by Simone Jacobs
Spring plants are already flowering in the Netherlands and have started to bloom on average a month earlier than 50 years ago. According to biologists from Nature Today, the early start of spring clearly shows the impact that rising temperatures have had on nature.
Plants and trees bloom earlier due to rising temperatures
The winter season has been warmer than usual with temperatures that are usually only experienced in early April. Around 50 years ago, the average temperature in January and February for the Netherlands was 2,1 degrees celsius, whereas the country has experienced an average temperature of 5,4 degrees during the same months this year.
These rising temperatures have had an impact on the flowering period of many plants and trees. For instance, the yellow dogwood, which in the past has had flowers blooming in mid-March, has recently started blooming as early as February.
Other plants that are also flowering earlier than they did half a century ago include the black alder tree, celandine, hazel tree, snowdrop and crocus, which are already in full bloom across the Netherlands.
Early spring in the Netherlands not a good sign
While it may be lovely to see colourful flowers popping up early, it is not a good sign for nature. According to biologist Arnold van Vliet, insects, frogs and other animals are negatively impacted by the changes in weather. “If plants and animals are hit hard as a result [of the early start of spring], we will not be able to achieve climate goals,” Van Vliet told NOS.
Spring arriving early is not only bad for plants, animals and climate goals, but it also means bad news for those with allergies. Hazel and alder trees release large amounts of pollen when they flower and because they’re flowering earlier, hay fever symptoms are expected to start sooner too.