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Parts of US see earliest spring conditions on record: ‘Climate change playing out in real

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Blooming daffodils in New York City. Leaves sprouting from red maples in North Carolina. Cherry blossoms about to bud in Washington. Record winter warmth across much of the eastern US has caused spring-like conditions to arrive earlier than ever previously recorded in several places, provoking delight over the mild weather and despair over the unfolding climate crisis.

In New York, one of several US cities to experience its warmest January on record, spring conditions have arrived 32 days before the long-term normal, which is its earliest onset of biological spring in 40 years of charting seasonal trends by the National Phenology Network.

Spring activity has, meanwhile, arrived at least 20 days earlier than usual for huge swathes of the US south-east and east, with parts of central Texas, south-east Arkansas, southern Ohio and Maryland, along with New York, all recording their earliest spring conditions on record so far this year.

Map of the US showing where spring has arrived early. Southern and north-eastern states have seen earlier leafing.

“It’s a little unsettling, it’s…

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