Friday, March 16, 2012

Researchers use tables of the author of Walden, 1840 flowering dates of Massachusetts to show the temperature has risen 2.4C

As befits a man regarded as the first environmentalist Henry David Thoreau, who describes his life isolated in the 1840s, Massachusetts in the American literature classic Walden, is to help scientists calculate impacts of climate change.

American author, died in 1862, is best known for his account of the two years he spent living in a hut with a single piece of wood near Walden Pond, "because I wanted to live deliberately, compared to only the essential facts of life. "Packed with the description of the natural world he loved, Walden is partly autobiographical, partly a manifesto for Thoreau's belief in the correctness of the life close to nature. "I never found the companion that was so sociable than solitude," he writes. "Simplify, simplify."

But Thoreau was also a naturalist, and carefully observed the first flowering dates of more than 500 species of wildflowers in Concord, Massachusetts, between 1851 and 1858, recording a series of tables. When Richard Primack, a professor of biology at Boston University, and Abraham Miller-Rushing colleague found unpublished documents of Thoreau, immediately understood that it is useful to define the impact of climate change over the last century and medium. The calendar of seasonal events such as flowering dates is known as phenology and plant phenology in a temperate climate like that of Massachusetts, are very sensitive to temperature, scientists say. The study of phenology is therefore a good indicator of the ecological response to climate change.

"We had been looking for historical records for about six months when we heard from the plant Thoreau. We knew right away that this would be extremely useful for research on climate change climate, as they were 150 years ago, many species have not been included, and were collected by Thoreau, who is as famous in America for his book Walden, "Primack said. "The files were surprisingly easy to find, once they were aware of them. A copy was given to us by an independent researcher, who knew it would be useful to research on climate change. "

during the 155 years since then, the average temperature increased by 2.4C at Concordia estimate.

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