Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Gardeners doing their bit for science

So what's up with your garden? Are plants blooming early or late or right on time? What kinds of trends are the gardeners in your area seeing?

Project Bud Burst wants to know!

The deal is, the only way that climatologists botanists and horticulturalists can track the effects of global climate change on the plants of this world is with good, solid data. But the quantity of data needed is so huge that both the time and expense would be astronomical.

That's where gardeners come in. After all, we do sometimes get just a wee bit obsessive as we eagerly anticipate the first blossoms on our prize helebore, or peer intently at the buds on the winter-damaged Cecil Brunner rose and wonder if there's still a bit of life left in it, if maybe its buds will open again this year.

What Project Bud Burst wants is for people everywhere to watch one or more types of plants in their gardens, parks, or nearby wild areas and report on things like first bud burst or first blossom. With a huge database of reports like that gathered from many places over many years, the statisticians can go to work on the data and report any trends they see.

Remember, we're dealing with global climate change. Calling it "global warming" oversimplifies the case. It's a matter of more energy going into the system, and the results can be unexpected. The more data the scientists have, the better they can understand what's going on.

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