Japan’s cherry blossom season came early. Climate change is to blame. 

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Japan’s cherry blossom season came early. Climate change is to blame. 

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Sakura season peaked earlier than it has in 1,200 years, potentially threatening local ecosystems. Scientists warn it’s another outcome of climate change.

Tourists from all across the world travel to Japan for the stunning cherry blossom bloom. However, this year, cherry blossom season came and went earlier than it has in 1,200 years. Scientists warn this is another indication that the effects of climate change are here.

In the city of Kyoto, cherry blossoms peaked on March 26, and in the capital of Tokyo, they reached full bloom on March 22nd, Yasuyuki Aono, a researcher at Osaka Prefecture University, told CNN. Aono and other scientists have blamed the early bloom on human-caused climate change.

While it is not uncommon for the peak bloom dates to change due to factors such as weather and rainfall, data has shown an overall trend of the date shifting earlier. In Kyoto, the peak date, which is usually in the first half of April, has come in late March a handful of times. 

This shift could influence the local ecosystem in a much deeper way. Insects react to the increase in temperature by getting ready to search for food. At the same time, plants start flowering and creating pollinators. However, if flowers start blooming before the insects are ready, or if vice versa, insects are ready to eat before the flowers have bloomed, they may not be able to find enough to eat.

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Maheep Chawla

Maheep is a third-year undergraduate student at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. She is pursuing a major in Psychology. Previously, she has interned with a pre-school for children with special needs based in New Delhi. In the past, she has also written for her campus newspaper and the editorial department at UBC’s Psychology Student Association.