Personal tools

Notifications
Get notifications on new reports and products. Frequency: 3-4 emails / month.
Subscriptions
Sign up to receive our reports (print and/or electronic) and quarterly e-newsletter.
Follow us
Twitter icon Twitter
Facebook icon Facebook
YouTube icon YouTube channel
RSS logo RSS Feeds
More

Write to us Write to us

For the public:


For media and journalists:

Contact EEA staff
Contact the web team
FAQ

Call us Call us

Reception:

Phone: (+45) 33 36 71 00
Fax: (+45) 33 36 71 99


next
previous
items

Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Sound and independent information
on the environment

You are here: Home / Data and maps / Indicators / Plant phenology

Plant phenology

Note: new version is available!
Topics: ,

Update planned for November 2012

Contents
 

Assessment versions

Published (reviewed and quality assured)

Justification for indicator selection

Phenology is the study of changes in the timing of seasonal events such as budburst, flowering, dormancy, migration and hibernation. Some phenological responses are triggered principally by temperature, while others are more responsive to day length (Menzel et al., 2006). Changes in phenology are linked with the growing season and affect ecosystem functioning and productivity. Farming, forestry and gardening, as well as wildlife, are affected. The timing of tilling, sowing and harvesting is changing, fruit is ripening earlier due to warmer summers (Menzel et al., 2006), and grass in municipal parks and on road verges requires cutting more frequently and for longer.
Changes in flowering have implications for the timing and intensity of the pollen season; this is showing an advancing trend as many species start to flower earlier. Allied to this, the concentration of pollen in the air is increasing (Nordic Council, 2005).

Scientific references:

  • References DEFRA, 2007. Conserving biodiversity in a changing climate: guidance on building capacity to adapt. DEFRA, UK. Fitter, A. H. and Fitter, R. S. R., 2002. Rapid Changes in Flowering Time in British Plants. Science 296: 1689-1691. Høye, T. T.; Post, E.; Meltofte, H.; Schmidt, N. M. and Forchhammer, M. C., 2007. Rapid advancement of spring in the high Arctic. Current Biology 17 (12): 449-451. Menzel, A.; Sparks, T. H.; Estrella, N.; Koch, E.; Aasa, A.; Ahas, R.; Alm-Kübler, K.; Bissolli, P.; Braslavská, O.; Briede, A.; Chmielewski, F. M.; Crepinsek, Z.; Curnel, Y.; Dahl, Å.; Defila, C.; Donelly, A.; Filella, I.; Jatczak, K.; Måge, F.; Mestre, A.; Nordli, Ø.; Peñuela, J.; Pirinen, P.; Remišová, V.; Scheinfinger, H.; Stríž, M.; Susnik, A.; Van Vliet, A. J. H.; Wiegolaski, F.-E.; Zach, S.; Zust, A., 2006. European phenological response to climate change matches the warming pattern. Global Change Biology 12: 1969-1976. Nature's Calendar, UK. www.naturescalendar.org.uk/climate+change/past.htm . Nordic Council, 2005. Conservation of Nordic Nature in a Changing Climate. Nordic Council of Ministers, Copenhagen. Parmesan, C. and Yohe, G., 2003. A globally coherent fingerprint of climate change impacts across natural systems. Nature 421: 37-42. Root, T. L.; Price, J. T.; Hall, K. R., Schneider, S. H.; Rosenzweig, C.; Pounds, J. A., 2003. Fingerprints of global warming on wild animals and plants. Nature 421: 57-60.

Indicator definition

  • Phenological sensitivity to temperature changes
  • Oak (Quercus sp) leafing date in Surrey (United Kingdom) 1950-2008

Units

http://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/eea_report_2008_4/pp111-148CC2008_ch5-7to9_Terrestrial_ecosystems_soil_and_agriculture.pdf

Policy context and targets

Context description

In April 2009 the European Commission presented a White Paper on the framework for adaptation policies and measures to reduce the European Union's vulnerability to the impacts of climate change. The aim is to increase the resilience to climate change of health, property and the productive functions of land, inter alia by improving the management of water resources and ecosystems. More knowledge is needed on climate impact and vulnerability but a considerable amount of information and research already exists which can be shared better through a proposed Clearing House Mechanism. The White Paper stresses the need to mainstream adaptation into existing and new EU policies. A number of Member States have already taken action and several have prepared national adaptation plans. The EU is also developing actions to enhance and finance adaptation in developing countries as part of a new post-2012 global climate agreement expected in Copenhagen (Dec. 2009). For more information see: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/climat/adaptation/index_en.htm

Targets

No targets have been specified

Related policy documents

No related policy documents have been specified

Key policy question

Data specifications

EEA data references

  • No datasets have been specified here.

External data references

Data sources in latest figures

Uncertainties

Methodology uncertainty

http://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/eea_report_2008_4/pp193-207CC2008_ch8_Data_gaps.pdf

Data sets uncertainty

http://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/eea_report_2008_4/pp193-207CC2008_ch8_Data_gaps.pdf

Rationale uncertainty

No uncertainty has been specified

Further work

Short term work

Work specified here requires to be completed within 1 year from now.

Long term work

Work specified here will require more than 1 year (from now) to be completed.

General metadata

Responsibility and ownership

EEA Contact Info

Hans-Martin Füssel

Ownership

Joint Research Centre (JRC)
European Environment Agency (EEA)

Identification

Indicator code
CLIM 023
Specification
Version id: 1
Primary theme: Climate change Climate change

Permalinks

Permalink to this version
2a849205ef73477b4e0a4b654086c0ec
Permalink to latest version
08TDB573B2

Classification

DPSIR: Impact
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)

Related content

Data references used

European phenological data platform for climatological applications European phenological data platform for climatological applications COST action 725 ‘Establishing a European phenological data platform for climatological applications’ comprising all phenological records digitally available at present. It included entire phenological networks of 11 countries (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Russia (provided by the 5FP project POSITIVE)), five specialists networks (Finland, Spain, the Netherlands, Norway, United Kingdom) and the network of the International Phenological Gardens in Europe (http://www.agrar.huberlin. de/pflanzenbau/agrarmet/ipg_en.html), spreading over 14 countries including, in addition to countries named above, Croatia, Denmark, Greece, Ireland and Macedonia. In total, phenological trends of 542 plant species in 21 countries (125 628 time series) and 19 animal species in three countries (301 time series) were analysed. The phenophases of wild plants, fruit trees and agricultural crops were assigned to a BBCH (Biologische Bundesanstalt, Bundessortenamt and CHemical Industry) code (Meier, 1997) and grouped either by BBCH code or BBCH subgroups (principal growth stages). If applicable, agricultural and natural phases were treated separately. Annual mean onset dates for nine countries (Austria, Belarus/northern Russia, Estonia, Czech Republic,Germany, Poland, Slovenia, Switzerland, Ukraine/southern Russia), comprising 254 records (phenophases countries) of 101 years, however, mostly covering the total period 1951–1999, were available for the quantitative assessment of temperature responses.  

Latest figures and vizualizations

Geographical coverage

[+] Show Map

Document Actions

Comments

Sign up now!
Get notifications on new reports and products. Currently we have 33090 subscribers. Frequency: 3-4 emails / month.
Notifications archive
Follow us
 
 
 
 
 
Log in


Forgot your password?
European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Denmark
Phone: +45 3336 7100