PLoS One - a From timely article
Predicting the Timing of Cherry Blossoms in Washington, DC and Mid-Atlantic States in Response to Climate Change
Uran Chung, Liz Mack, Jin I. Yun, Soo-Hyung Kim
Cherry blossoms, an icon of spring, are celebrated in many cultures of the temperate region. For its sensitivity to winter andearly spring temperatures, the timing of cherry blossoms is an ideal indicator of the impacts of climate change on treephenology. Here, we applied a process-based phenology model for temperate deciduous trees to predict peak bloom dates(PBD) of flowering cherry trees (Prunus×yedoensis ‘Yoshino’ and Prunus serrulata ‘Kwanzan’) in the Tidal Basin, Washington, DCand the surrounding Mid-Atlantic States in response to climate change. We parameterized the model with observed PBD datafrom 1991 to 2010. The calibrated model was tested against independent datasets of the past PBD data from 1951 to 1970 in theTidal Basin and more recent PBD data from other locations (e.g., Seattle, WA). The model performance against these independentdata was satisfactory (Yoshino: r2 = 0.57, RMSE = 6.6 days, bias = 0.9 days and Kwanzan: r2 = 0.76, RMSE = 5.5 days, bias = −2.0days). We then applied the model to forecast future PBD for the region using downscaled climate projections based on IPCC's A1B andA2 emissions scenarios. Our results indicate that PBD at the Tidal Basin are likely to be accelerated by an average of five days by 2050s and 10 days by 2080 s for these cultivars under a mid-range (A1B) emissions scenario projected by ECHAM5 general circulation model.The acceleration is likely to be much greater (13 days for 2050 s and 29 days for 2080s ) under a higher (A2) emissions scenario projectedby CGCM2 general circulation model. Our results demonstrate the potential impacts of climate change on the timing of cherry blossoms andillustrate the utility of a simple process-based phenology model for developing adaptation strategies to climate change in horticulture,conservation planning, restoration and other related disciplines.