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Kyoto cherry blossoms blooming 11 days sooner due to urban global warming

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Kyoto cherry blossoms blooming 11 days sooner due to urban global warming
Cherry blossoms are seen at Kiyomizudera Temple in Kyoto, Japan, on April 4, 2020. A new study says cherry blossoms are blooming 11 days sooner due to urban global warming. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

May 20 (UPI) -- Kyoto, Japan's, iconic cherry blossoms marking the start of spring are now fully blooming 11 days sooner due to climate change warming.

The full flowering of Kyoto's cherry trees in 2021 was on March 26, the earliest date recorded in 1200 years, according to a study published Friday in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

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"We find that after about the 1930's, human influence leads to earlier flowering," the study said. The global climate change warming in the urban setting of Kyoto's cherry blossoms has led to the flowering 11 days earlier, according to the study.

Dr. Nikolaos Christidis at Britain's Met Office co-authored the study.

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"Our research shows that not only have human-induced climate change and urban warming already impacted the flowering dates of cherry blossom in Kyoto, but that extremely early flowering dates, as in 2021, are now estimated to be 15 times more likely, and are expected to occur at least once a century," Dr. Christidis said.

The study found "a significant anthropogenic shift" in the mean flowering season of over a week. Half of that is due to urban warming.

Studies of Kyoto's cherry blossoms flowering go back to 812 AD. The record was compiled from imperial court diaries and chronicles.

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The earlier flowering caused by global warming of urban environments impact more than the tourism of people coming to see the cherry blossoms emerge each spring.

The study said "the sensitivity of tree phenology to rising temperatures would also have knock-on effects on crop-tree farming and land management practices."

The latest scientific report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded it is virtually certain that human influence has been a major driver of the observed warming in many sub-continental regions.

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