As a Canadian the beginning of spring is something I look forward to every year. It is a fresh beginning and allows us to leave many of the hassles of winter behind such shoveling and scraping the car windows, the long dark days and most of all, the cold temperatures. The arrival of spring has been arriving increasingly earlier by 2.3 – 5.5 days per decade in the last thirty years. Well this may bring joy to many people who are eager to leave winter behind; it is negatively impacting many delegate natural relationships. To add to the complexity, the last winter frost has remained generally constant year per year. The implications of this are affecting an abundant of species including birds, insects and flowers. Species are either going to have to start adapting or otherwise will start disappearing.
One of many seasonal mismatches is the relationship between plants and pollinators. For example, the honeybee larvae depend on warmer temperatures to survive and an unexpected frost will kill any larvae on the outskirts of the hive. This creates a dramatic drop in the population of the hive. If the plants have a higher tolerance for the frost and do not react the same way, it will slow their honey production preparations. The bees will become out of sync with their primary food source.
Not only is spring arriving earlier, but also autumn is arriving later with a 3-day delay average across 21 countries. The impacts of these seasonality mismatches are even more amplified in the arctic and are impacting human survival. The delay in autumn has affected the migration pattern of moose that have begun to stay in their feeding grounds longer before migrating to their mating territory. Due to the legal hunting season, many natives who depend on the meat they receive from the moose are no longer able to harvest enough meat for the wintertime.
The early arrival of springtime may have a few short-term perks for southern Canadians but it is causing a variety of negative impacts on both the natural world and human life.