Forget groundhogs: This spring forecast looks at lilac buds
ITHACA, N.Y. (AP) — Lilac buds rather than groundhog shadows are helping climate experts at Cornell University predict the onset of spring.
Cornell’s Emergent Climate Risk Lab has unveiled an online tool called “Springcasting.” Toby Ault, a Cornell assistant professor of earth and atmospheric sciences, says the tool is based on weather data linked with leaf-out and bloom in cloned lilacs and honeysuckle.
The website’s map of the continental United States shows where spring will be early, late or right on time. Ault is seeking feedback from people in the field and on farms to provide information to improve the forecasting model.
The USA National Phenology Network also has a website using leaf-bud and weather data to track the progression of spring’s onset across the country.