While many have enjoyed the warm weather this February, the U.S. Geological Survey said the warmer weather is a key indicator in climate change.
The USGS shared a news analysis from the USA National Phenology Network showing that an early spring has arrived in the Southeast. The analysis relies on a “spring index,” which shows when plants begin to bloom.
The study compared this year’s temperatures to previous years temperatures, and the analysis found that some cities have seen an unusually early arrival of spring. In Washington, D.C., spring arrived 22 days earlier than previous years, according to the news analysis.
While an early spring may sound nice, it can have serious consequences on agriculture if it is followed by a freeze. An entire crop, which has already started to grow from an early spring, could be wiped out if it freezes, according to Jake Weltzin, executive director of the USA-National Phenology Network and an ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, which helped fund the project.