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Premature blooms on DC's iconic cherry trees raise concerns among experts: 'This has been a particularly puzzling year'

This year's peak bloom season is a bit sooner than usual, and there's a reason why.

This year's peak bloom season is a bit sooner than usual, and there's a reason why.

Photo Credit: iStock

Cherry blossom season delights visitors to Washington, D.C., every year, with tourists flocking to see the trees in full bloom.

However, the National Park Service has been struggling to provide excited dendrophiles with information about when the blossoms will look their best in 2024.

What's happening?

According to a statement from the NPS, shared by Travel + Leisure, the peak bloom season for D.C.'s cherry blossoms will be between March 23 and March 26. That is a bit sooner than usual, and there's a reason why.

A warmer-than-usual January meant the trees never reached dormancy, affecting their natural life cycle.

The NPS said solidifying a window to view the blossoms has been tricky, noting "this has been a particularly puzzling year to read the trees."

Why is this concerning?

According to the World Meteorological Organization, January was the hottest first month of a year on record, marking the eighth consecutive month with such a claim. 

It's clear, then, that continued record highs in temperature could have a significant impact on the rhythms of nature, which could affect entire ecosystems. 

Even though the blossoms' presence comes in a short but sweet time window, they still provide a food source for bees, which are crucial in the pollination process that supports the global food supply chain. 

What can be done to limit temperature rises?

To keep the cherry blossom cycle in check — and for the benefit of other seasonal plants and trees — it's important to halt the unsustainable rise of global temperatures.

While this might seem difficult to do alone, positive lifestyle changes can add up if a number of people are encouraged to do the same.

Planting more trees could help, too, as they absorb polluting gases from the atmosphere and expel clean oxygen. Even a small native plant meadow in your garden can make a difference, and it will also help to attract pollinators

But since Washington is the home of American politics, it's worth noting that voting for pro-climate candidates can make a huge difference in policies that reduce global heating. Setting carbon-neutral targets, installing more EV charging stations, and punishing polluting industries are all changes that can be achieved with good government leadership.

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