SOON the swallows will come swooping back to Scotland from South Africa, a traditional sign that winter has ended. It may seem as if all is as nature intended, but it is not. Swallows are now arriving 20 days earlier than they did in the 1970s – and it’s because of global warming caused by climate pollution. It’s not just swallows whose habits are changing as temperatures rise. A series of scientific studies have found numerous signs that spring – which officially begins tomorrow with the vernal equinox marking the first day of Spring – is coming much sooner than it used to. Orange tip butterflies are taking to the air 13 days earlier than they did a century ago, while queen wasps are buzzing about six days sooner. Daffodils at Nethy Bridge in the Cairngorms are flowering five days earlier than they did a decade ago. Fish and frogs are spawning sooner, trees are budding earlier and lawns are being mowed more often. Insects are appearing two weeks ahead of when they did in 1970, while plants are emerging ten days earlier. The impacts of rising temperatures are not simple and they can vary, but scientists are clear that most signs of spring are advancing. “A warming climate appears to be disrupting the sequence of events that we have grown up with,” said Tim Sparks, professor of environmental change at Coventry University.
Sunday Herald 19th March 2017 read more »