When a Progressive blames early cherry blossoms on climate change, I start doing research — and discover that there are more likely causes.
A Progressive friend of mine on Facebook very smugly linked to the chart below, which identifies 1,200 years of bloom dates for cherry blossoms. He did not post this simply because it’s interesting. Instead, as the sudden drop-off in the chart after WWII should suggest to you, he posted it to prove that climate change is real and is having profound effects on our environment:
He explained that, in Kyoto, the Japanese have recorded for over a thousand years the first day on which the cherry blossoms bloom. The chart shows that, beginning sometimes after WWII (when America really started polluting), the blossoms are blooming earlier and earlier. The only explanation, of course, is global warming.
I took one look at the chart and thought, “Hmmm, I’ve seen that pattern before. I know! It looks exactly like an upside down version of Michael Mann’s infamous hockey stick.”
You remember the hockey stick, don’t you? By manipulating modern temperatures and deleting entirely past warming events (such as the Roman and Medieval warming eras), Mann managed to make it look as if temperatures suddenly spiked up in the second half of the 20th century:
Based upon the two chart’s startling similarity, I decided I’d better investigate the question of cherry blossoms blooming a little more closely. I’m sure there’s no data manipulation going on (the historically recorded dates are what they are), but the similarity to Mann’s chart tells me that something else must be afoot. Otherwise, I’d see other temperature variables, since as the various mini Ice Ages and warming periods in the past 1,200 years.
I toddled over to Watts Up With That, and there was my answer: Although Anthony Watts is discussing a claim about cherry blossoms in Washington, the probable culprits — more artificial light and human generated temperature increases at ground level — seem as applicable to Japan as they to do the US: