Autumn to come early

Early signs of autumn herald anticipated climate changes

The first real signs of the predicted climate changes appear to be happening to Britain’s trees. Results of a survey by more than 21,000 people conducted on behalf of the Woodland Trust, the conservation charity dedicated to preserving woodlands, point to an early start to autumn. Woodland Trust representative Anne Jappie said: “The most striking thing we have noticed about leaf tint — change of colour — is that it is four to six weeks early. Some say this is because of the drought-like conditions but the Meteorological Office says that is not true: rainfall has been the same but temperatures have been higher. “This means the early fruiting is not surprising. August has been very dry but we do not have records of leaf fall yet. Climate change is impacting on many things.” The survey was carried out by people from around Britain and was overseen by the trust’s marketing development manager, Jill Attenborough. She is also project manager of the trust’s phenology project, which monitors change in the seasons and its impact. The full results of the survey will be available at the end of the year. Royal Parks deputy chief executive director Mike Fitt said: “It really does seem that autumn has come early this year, with many trees already brown. It is noticeable in gardens as well.”

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