Japan Had its Earliest Cherry Blossom Bloom in 1200 Years This Year

Warmer springs are causing Japan’s cherry blossoms to bloom nearly a month earlier than they used to

Tokyo’s famous cherry blossoms reached their peak bloom March 22 this year, nearly a month earlier than they did just a couple of centuries ago.

Tokyo, March 23, 2021, Credit: CNN

A researcher has gathered records of peak bloom dates in Japan’s central city of Kyoto dating back to 800 AD.

For nearly 1000 years, the peak blossoming date of the city’s ancient cherry trees hovered around mid April. Until the mid 1800s, when it gradually started moving toward early April, and in recent years started dipping into March.

This year was the second earliest bloom date on record since 812 AD, over 1200 years ago.

“As global temperatures warm, the last spring frosts are occurring earlier and flowering is occurring sooner,” Lewis Ziska of Columbia University’s Environmental Health Sciences told CNN.

“The temperature was low in the 1820s, but it has risen by about 6 degrees Fahrenheit to this day,” said Osaka Prefecture University researcher Yasuyuki Aono.
Tokyo, March 21, 2021, Credit: Getty Images
This year’s winter was very cold, but the spring came fast and unusually warm, he added.

“Ecosystems are not accustomed to these kinds of large fluctuations, it causes them a lot of stress,” said Amos Tai, professor of Earth System Science at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

“Productivity may be reduced, and ecosystems may even collapse in the future.”

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