HomeFederal GovernmentDepartment of InteriorNational ParksPress ReleasesSPRING STARTING EARLIER IN U.S.

DOI Announces Study Showing Spring Starting Earlier in National Parks

Climate change impacting over 75 percent of national parks across the country



October 6, 2016

SHENANDOAH NATIONAL PARK, VA – U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today announced a new study showing that spring is beginning earlier than its historical average in 75 percent of the national parks examined — providing further evidence that climate change is already impacting public lands. The announcement came during a visit to Shenandoah National Park, one of the sites identified in the study as experiencing the impacts of an early onset of spring.

“Using sound science as the basis of this report, we can see that climate change is already impacting our nation’s national parks,” said Secretary Jewell. “Our challenge in real time is planning for and adapting to these changes – like the need to address increasing threats of invasive species, stresses on native species and changing visitor patterns driven by warmer weather. It’s clear that one of the biggest challenges our national parks face in their second century will be adaptive management in the face of a changing climate.”

Published today in a special feature of the journal Ecosphere (Science for our National Parks’ Second Century), the analysis spans 1901 to 2012, a period that provides the best historical temperature data and that generally overlaps with the history of the National Park System. The study is based on the work of a team of researchers led by the Department of the Interior’s U.S. Geological Survey and National Park Service, along with the University of Arizona, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and Cornell University. The team analyzed patterns of historical temperatures for 276 of the 413 national park units, including sites from Alaska to Florida.

The researchers used climate change indicators called the Spring Indices — models based on nationwide field observations of first leaf-out and first-bloom dates in two common and widely distributed flowering plants —lilac and honeysuckle. Based on the indices, the scientists dated the onset of spring in each park, year by year, and then analyzed those trends.

Three out of four parks examined were identified as having an earlier onset of spring; more importantly, two out of four parks were identified as experiencing extreme early onsets of spring.

“The bottom line is not just that parks are susceptible to climate change. In fact, they have already changed,” said Jake Weltzin, an ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey and a co-author on the study. “Many park managers are already managing in an extreme environment.”

At Shenandoah, the early blooming of lilacs and honeysuckle is indicative of a much larger problem. The park has 360 non-native plant species, of which 41 are considered invasive and highly destructive. These non-native plant species, such as garlic mustard and oriental bittersweet, are taking advantage of a warming climate and earlier spring, invading forests across the park and displacing native wildflowers.

Studies suggest that early spring is also disrupting critically important natural relationships, like the link between the peak bloom of wildflowers and the arrival of birds, bees and butterflies that feed on and pollinate the flowers.

“These results clearly show that climate changes have already affected park resources. There are now new challenges to managing parks that are experiencing continuously changing relationships between species,” said John Gross, an ecologist with the National Park Service.

In some cases, the early onset of spring has thrown off the timing of popular park events, such as the annual Cherry Blossom Festival on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Consequently, the festival has evolved from a single day to a multi-week celebration. Similarly, a community lilac festival, traditionally held over Memorial Day weekend at Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in New Hampshire, typically no longer overlaps with the bloom time of lilacs.

Source: https://www.doi.gov/pressreleases/interior-secretary-jewell-announces-study-showing-spring-starting-earlier-national

30+ MPH Gusts and Heavy Showers to Continue for St. Thomas-St. John says NWS

This site runs continually updated weather reports and forecasts at the bottom of each page through AccuWeather.

High Surf Advisory Issued for March 6 and 7


March 6, 2017
Issued by the National Weather Service San Juan (San Juan, Puerto Rico)
for the District of St. Thomas, St. John
A High Surf Advisory has been issued by the San Juan NWS on Monday, March 06 at 4:20AM and remains in effect through Tuesday, March 07 at 6:00PM AST for the islands in the St. Thomas-St. John District of the Virgin Islands.
The on-set of strong onshore winds will result in dangerous surf conditions along the Northwest, North And East Coast Beaches. Even the best swimmers can be carried out to sea in the strong currents the islands will experience!
• Rip Currents
• 10 to 13 foot breaking waves and surf
Instructions: A High Surf Advisory means that high surf will affect beaches in the Advisory Area producing Localized Beach Erosion and dangerous Swimming Conditions.
Rip Currents are powerful channels of water flowing quickly away from shore and occur most often at Low Spots or breaks in the sandbar and in the vicinity of structures such as Groins, Jetties and Piers. Heed the advice of Lifeguards, Beach Patrol Flags and Signs.

EAST hosts Annual V.I. Humpback Whale Watch Eco-tours

It is time for the Annual EAST Whale Watches 2017. Join the Environmental Association St. Thomas -St. John (EAST) for our annual St. Thomas, Virgin Islands whale watches on Sunday, March 5 and Saturday, March … Continue reading →

Junior Spotted Eaglerays swim in formation in a Mangrove Lagoon

©karlcallwood. Donor use permitted.

Junior Spotted Eaglerays swim in formation in a Mangrove Lagoon. ~ January 18, 2017. The Climate Change VI team has been following four very young Spotted Eaglerays (Aetobatus narinari)* in the Mandahl Bay, St. Thomas, … Continue reading →

The Ethiopian Princess and Her City of Stars

Related … Continue reading →

NOAA Wants Public Comments on Virgin Islands Fisheries Closures

Related … Continue reading →

IT WAS LATE SUNDAY AFTERNOON, October 30, when I got the call. For some time Anna and Alcedo “Justin” Francis had been observing a large bird-of-prey sitting on the narrow rocky shoreline of Tutu Bay. … Continue reading →

Virgin Islands Senatorial Candidates were emailed* and provided two free minutes of video time on ClimateChangeVI.org to air their views on the environment and climate change. Click to view the Candidate Forums page and videos. … Continue reading →

$5 Million Grant Available for Long Term Research in Environmental Biology

The National Science Foundation has announced the availability of $5 million in federal grant money for long-term environmental research projects. ~ ClimateChangeVI: Researchers have long been frustrated by the fact that biological processes take time … Continue reading →

Turtle Times Nature News Network S01E09

  Sumaiyah and Antonio take on the Mandahl Bay Coast Weeks Cleanup and show us how to make a Zika-proof Avacado Seed Starter and more on Turtle Times Nature News Network for the Week of … Continue reading →


~ verbatim – Office of Senator Marvin Blyden: Senator Marvin Blyden wants the public to know that this weekend is its final opportunity to donate items for the Haiti Relief efforts that his office, local … Continue reading →

$55 Million Grant Availability from National Science Foundation to Study Why Organisms Function as They Do

The U.S. National Science Foundation has announced the availability of $55 million in funding aimed at understanding why organisms are structured the way they are and function as they do. The NSF anticipates providing 220 … Continue reading →

  The Brown Garden Eel Heteroconger longissimus   Conger Eels: Brown Garden Eel – Heteroconger longissimus. Colonies with dozens to thousands of individuals inhabit sand flats with nearby reefs, depth 15 feet to over 200. … Continue reading →

AgFair 2016

33rd Annual St. Thomas-St. John AgFair Nov. 19 & 20 “Self Reliance, Self-Esteem for a Better Farming Community in 2016” Download Applications HERE!* The St. Thomas-St. John Agriculture & Food Fair Committee, Inc. A Community … Continue reading →

TTNNN S01E07 Newscast Report for week ending Oct. 3, 2016 In this episode, Sumaiyah and Antonio continue to follow the intrepid adventures of the Coastweeks Litter Picker-uppers, this time in Fortuna Bay, St. Thomas, with … Continue reading →


DOI Announces Study Showing Spring Starting Earlier in National Parks Climate change impacting over 75 percent of national parks across the country RELEASED FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR {Verbatim} October 6, 2016 SHENANDOAH NATIONAL PARK, … Continue reading →

Etelman Observatory Invites Islanders to View the Universe on Friday

    The Etelman Observatory of the University of the Virgin Islands will be hosting its next free Public Observing Night on Friday, October 7, 2016. Virgin Islanders will have the opportunity to get up-close … Continue reading →

$43.18 Million Awarded to Speed Development of Zika Vaccine

Source: BARDA awards funding to speed development of Zika vaccine | HHS.gov Related … Continue reading →

Turtle Times Nature News Network S01E06 – Airdate: 09-26-16

In this episode:
• VIMAS and STAR kick off the Coastweeks Cleanups.
• Senator Nereida “Nellie” Rivera-O’Reilly ushers through the plastic shopping bag bill.
• Beach and fisheries closure notices.
• Antonio and Sumaiyah continue their fruit fight over the Crop of the Week

Comments are closed.