The US Global Change and Research Program released the first 14 indicators of climate change on Wednesday, May 5, 2015. Among these is the Start of Spring indicator, which reflects the accumulation of heat sufficient to initiate leafing and flowering in temperature-sensitive plants. The Start of Spring indicator is calculated and validated using data and models curated by the USA-NPN, including observations of plant leaf-out and flowering collected via Nature’s Notebook.
The Indicator will aid resource managers with issues such as invasive species, migratory animals, pollinators and their resource plants, disease vectors, and fire seasons. This product is critical to understanding and forecasting landscape change, serves as a model framework for other national monitoring programs, and is already being used by both Refuges and National Parks. USA National Phenology Network partners and staff members provided significant input to the USGCRP to support the development of a start of spring indicator.