A New NASA Map Shows Spring Is Coming Earlier Each Year

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iStock

Climate change is shifting Earth’s seasons. Winters are getting shorter, and the warmth of spring has started to arrive earlier and earlier, messing with the timing of processes like animal migrations and the budding of new plant growth. In a series of graphics spotted by Flowing Data, the NASA Earth Observatory shows how much earlier new leaves are arriving in some parts of the U.S., and how much earlier they reach full bloom.

The data comes from a 2016 study of U.S. national parks, so the maps only cover seasonal changes within the park system. But since there are so many parks spread across the U.S., it’s a pretty good snapshot of how climate change is affecting the timing of spring across the country. The map in green shows the difference in “first leaf” arrival, or when the first leaves emerge from tree buds, and the map in purple shows the arrival of the first blooms.

Joshua Stevens, NASA Earth Observatory

Around 75 percent of the 276 parks analyzed in the study have been experiencing earlier springs, and half had recently seen the earliest springs recorded in 112 years. In Olympic National Park in Washington, the first leaves are now appearing 23 days earlier than they did a century ago, while the Grand Canyon is seeing leaves appear about 11 days earlier. National parks in the Sierras and in Utah are seeing leaves appear five to 10 days earlier, as are areas along the Appalachian Trail. Some parks, however, particularly in the South, are actually seeing a later arrival of spring leaves, shown in dark gray in the graphic.

Joshua Stevens, NASA Earth Observatory

The places that are witnessing earlier first blooms aren't always the ones with extra-early first leaves. The Appalachian Trail is blooming earlier, even though the first leaves aren't arriving any earlier. But in other places, like Olympic National Park, both the first leaves and the first blooms are arriving far earlier than they used to.

“Changes in leaf and flowering dates have broad ramifications for nature,” National Park Service ecologist John Gross explained in the Earth Observatory’s blog. “Pollinators, migratory birds, hibernating species, elk, and caribou all rely on food sources that need to be available at the right time.” When temperatures get out of sync with usual seasonal changes, those species suffer.

[h/t Flowing Data]

Save Up to 93 Percent on 8 Gaming Accessories and Enter to Win a Free Nintendo Switch Bundle

Stackcommerce
Stackcommerce

The Nintendo Switch is one of the hottest video game consoles of the past few decades, with worldwide sales topping 55 million (that's more than the Super Nintendo and Nintendo 64, and it's only a few million behind the original NES). The problem with a console being so popular is that it's not always easy to spot one on store shelves. If you haven't had luck finding one in recent months, you can enter this contest to win your very own Nintendo Switch, along with a copy of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, a pair of Switch-compatible Logitech wireless headphones, and a $300 Nintendo gift card. Head here for more details.

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Prices subject to change.

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The Strange Things Each State Is Googling Right Now

If the owner of this computer is from Arkansas, they're about to Google "Little Debbie cakes."
If the owner of this computer is from Arkansas, they're about to Google "Little Debbie cakes."
Caio, Pexels

Career resources company Zippia recently mined Google Trends data from April 2020 to August 2020 in an attempt to discover what offbeat topics are ruling people’s search bars in different states. The results are in, and the map below is a rather eclectic portrait of a nation in quarantine.

The most consistent theme throughout the country seems to be alcohol, though there’s a total lack of consensus when it comes to what kind. Mississippi and South Carolina have beaten the heat with frosty treats—vodka pops and frosé, a portmanteau of frozen rosé, respectively—and Minnesota has kept it classy with boxed wine. New Mexico has taken up day drinking, while their neighbors to the north in Colorado are asking Google “how to stop drinking” altogether.

Virginia is for lovers of grilled cheese.Zippia

States have various ways of coping with the absence of dine-in restaurants, too. Rhode Island is getting lots of Chinese takeout, but Alaska favors pizza delivery. Residents of Washington state, on the other hand, are learning “how to roll sushi.” And although Nevada is experiencing an influx of people “going vegan,” plenty of other Americans are really leaning into meat: “hot wings,” “BBQ,” “Chick-fil-A,” “chicken nuggets,” and “McDonald’s value menu,” are all on the map.

Other states are keeping busy in the kitchen. Hawaiians are baking banana bread, Vermontians are tending to sourdough starters, and Michiganders are figuring out how to turn cannabis into spreadable “cannabutter.”

People in Missouri are apparently searching for meth recipes, which we’re assuming just means that Breaking Bad binge-watchers are curious about the science behind the show. And if you see someone snoozing on the job in Florida, don’t be surprised—Floridians are picking up tips on “how to sleep at work.”

See Zippia’s full breakdown here.