Declining global warming effects on the phenology of spring leaf unfolding

Yongshuo Fu, Hongfang Zhao, Shilong Piao, Marc Peaucelle, Shushi Peng, Guiyun Zhou, Philippe Ciais, Mengtian Huang, Annette Menzel, Josep Peñuelas, Yang Song, Yann Vitasse, Zhenzhong Zeng & Ivan A. Janssens

Résumé Earlier spring leaf unfolding is a frequently observed response of plants to climate warming1–4. Many deciduous tree species require chilling for dormancy release, and warming-related reductions in chilling may counteract the advance of leaf unfolding in response to warming5,6. Empirical evidence for this, however, is limited to sap- lings or twigs in climate-controlled chambers7,8. Using long-term in situ observations of leaf unfolding for seven dominant European tree species at 1,245 sites, here we show that the apparent response of leaf unfolding to climate warming (ST, expressed in days advance of leaf unfolding per 6C warming) has significantly decreased from 1980 to 2013 in all monitored tree species. Averaged across all spe- cies and sites, ST decreased by 40% from 4.0 6 1.8 days 6C21 during 1980–1994 to 2.3 6 1.6 days 6C21 during 1999–2013. The declining ST was also simulated by chilling-based phenology models, albeit with a weaker decline (24–30%) than observed in situ. The reduction in ST is likely to be partly attributable to reduced chilling. Nonetheless, other mechanisms may also have a role, such as ‘photo- period limitation’ mechanisms that may become ultimately limiting when leaf unfolding dates occur too early in the season. Our results provide empirical evidence for a declining ST, but also suggest that the predicted strong winter warming in the future may further reduce ST and therefore result in a slowdown in the advance of tree spring phenology
Citation Fu, Y., Zhao, H., Piao, S., Peaucelle, M., Peng, S., Zhou, G., Ciais, P., Huang, M., Menzel, A., Peñuelas, J., Song, Y., Vitasse, Y., Zeng, Z., & Janssens, I. A. (2015). Declining global warming effects on the phenology of spring leaf unfolding. Nature, 526, 104-107.
Type Article de périodique (Anglais)
Date de publication 1-10-2015
Nom du périodique Nature
Volume 526
Pages 104-107