Daily Archives: April 7, 2017

Northern hemisphere sees in early spring due to global warming

Spring is arriving ever earlier in the northern hemisphere. One sedge species in Greenland is springing to growth 26 days earlier than it did a decade ago. And in the US, spring arrived 22 days early this year in Washington DC.

The evidence comes from those silent witnesses, the natural things that respond to climate signals. The relatively new science of phenology – the calendar record of first bud, first flower, first nesting behaviour and first migrant arrivals – has over the last three decades repeatedly confirmed meteorological fears of global warming as a consequence of the combustion of fossil fuels.

Arctic cotton grass grows on Greenland’s seashore. Sedge is almost four weeks ahead of its timetable 10 years ago. Image: Pearl Bucknall/Alamy

Researchers say the evidence from the plant world is consistent with the instrumental record: 2016 was the hottest year ever recorded, and it was the third record-breaking year in succession. Sixteen of the hottest years ever recorded have happened in the 21st century.

The most dramatic changes are observed in the high Arctic, the fastest-warming place on the planet, according to a study in Biology Letters. As the polar sea ice retreats, the growing season gets ever longer and arrives earlier.

The pattern is not consistent: grey willow sticks to its original timetable, and dwarf birch growth has advanced about five days earlier for each decade. But the sedge, almost four weeks ahead of its timetable in a decade, holds the record, according to a study that observed one plot at a field site in west Greenland, 150 miles inland, for 12 years.

“When we started studying this, I never would have imagined we’d be talking about a 26-day per decade rate of advance,”

says Eric Post, a polar ecologist at the University of California, Davis, department of wildlife, fish and conservation biology, who has been studying the Arctic for 27 years.

“That’s almost an entire growing season. That’s an eye-opening rate of change.”

Read More: The Guardian

85% of drivers ‘more seriously’ considering EV thanks to Government investment

The majority (85%) of respondents to a survey by Venson Automotive Solutions say they are now ‘more seriously’ considering buying an electric vehicle (EV) or choosing one as a company car in light of investment from the motor industry, Government and major oil companies.

The Government recently announced that it is putting in place new measures to improve provision of EV charge points as part of the Vehicle Technology and Aviation Bill, and oil supermajors Total and Shell have said that they will be making charging points a standard feature at fuel stations.

Although the commitment by industry and Government to remove purchasing barriers is having a positive influence, the survey also highlights that a focus on educating motorists on the ownership benefits – over and above the environmental benefits – is still needed.

Around two-fifths (41%) of the 100 drivers that responded to the survey said their general lack of knowledge about the total cost or convenience of owning such a vehicle impacted their decision making so Venson is urging fleet managers to arm employees with the tools needed to make an informed company car ownership choice.

Venson’s survey findings reported that the lack of charge points across the UK has been the biggest deterrents for motorists (69%), when it comes to buying or choosing an electric vehicle. Limited mileage range came second (61%), with the cost of charging the vehicle (42%) in third place.

Women (31%) were more reluctant than men (15%) to consider buying or leasing an EV because of the lack of opportunity to ‘try before you buy’.  The cost of insuring an EV is one of the lowest concerns, with only 19% of motorists seeing this as a deterrent and battery safety fears the least of motorists’ EV worries.

Alison Bell, marketing director of Venson Automotive Solutions, said:

“It’s really encouraging to see that public attitudes to electric vehicles are significantly shifting, as the industry invests in the necessary infrastructure. Clearly, Total and Shell’s move to install more charging points is critical in giving motorists the confidence when it comes to choosing EV or hybrid.”

Source: FleetLeasing