Has Spring Sprung Late?
May 12, 2011 9:41 AM   Subscribe

Has Spring sprung late? Where can I find data on variations from year to year as to the "starting dates" of certain regional climactic marker events--e.g., leaves fall off the trees; lilacs blooming; first frost? [Particularly looking for data arranged in a visually easy-to-digest way. Also, particularly New England; I ask because Spring in my area feels like it's been slow to come this year, and I don't know if it's just because the weather has been gray that I'm fooling myself, or if the leaves really did pop out later than usual.]
posted by not_on_display to Science & Nature (10 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Look into phenology and growing degree-days. Here is a neat page for Ohio; perhaps you can find something similar for your area.

I know that spring sprang late in my area - many events are at least a couple of weeks behind schedule.
posted by jon1270 at 9:57 AM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

The Pacific Decadal Oscillation has switched to cold mode, and the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is also in cold mode.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:59 AM on May 12, 2011

The National Phenology Network has lots of tools and data, but is making me feel like a lower lifeform attempting to use them.

This dataset (Excel) has first-flowering dates for Concord, MA, starting in 1851 (collected by Thoreau) through 2006.
posted by steef at 10:07 AM on May 12, 2011

The National Phenology Network has some interactive maps for visualizing this data, but they are pretty complicated to use. There's a tutorial, even. I didn't have the time to really dig into this, but it might be what you're looking for.

Also, you might be interested in joining Project Budburst, where you can send in phenology observations from your own neighborhood. Citizen science!
posted by Quietgal at 10:11 AM on May 12, 2011

Weatherspark.com is a good website that has a lot of nifty information. It only has basic weather data, nothing about peripheral events related to weather.
posted by at the crossroads at 10:30 AM on May 12, 2011 [2 favorites]

I have no answers, however, thanks for asking this because I'm really interested to hear what people have to say. I know that just from living in New England, this year (winter AND now spring) feel completely different than years past. I'm sick of this weather!
posted by floweredfish at 10:34 AM on May 12, 2011 [2 favorites]

Mohonk Mountain House has been taking weather and fantastic phenological observations for over a century. Very cool stuff! Researchers love the place because nothing has changed in the local environment since the 1890s

nytimes article here

Mohonk Preserve recent data here
posted by rockindata at 12:01 PM on May 12, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for all your answers so far! I didn't even know the term "phenology" until asking this question.

• Thanks for the Weatherspark link; their chart was easy to wrap my brain around, even if it answered something different. That's along the lines of what I was hoping for.

• the Nat'l Phenology Network map looks like it'd be up my alley; I'll tinker around with it more when I have the time.

...and as soon as I posted the question, it got sunny outside for a few moments. Don't worry floweredfish, it'll be summer before you know it!
posted by not_on_display at 4:25 PM on May 12, 2011

Well, I don't know about New England, but I can say that Spring here in N. Minnesota is late and wet. Possibly even too wet to plant much of what was intended in the garden. I know this because our family keeps a garden diary like this.

I also know because the wild leeks/ramps in our area that I harvest are later than usual.
posted by RedEmma at 7:34 AM on May 13, 2011

One of my Facebook friends posted this link for the Northwest, which might be of interest.
posted by carrienation at 9:12 AM on May 13, 2011

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