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Growing Season Trends in Northern Taiga Forests of Russia
Reference
Kozlov, M.V. and Berlina, N.G. 2002. Decline in length of the summer season on the Kola Peninsula, Russia. Climatic Change 54: 387-398.

What was done
For the period 1930 to 1998, the authors examined several phenological variables to look for possible changes in the length of the growing season in the taiga forests of northern Russia. The trends that were found were then compared with observed temperature and precipitation data for the same period.

What was learned
No trend in the date of first snow was detected, but the date of permanent snow cover in the forests began 13 days earlier at the end of the study period than at its beginning. In addition, snow around tree-trunks was found to melt 16 days later in the spring at the end of the record. The duration of the snow-free period in the forests also decreased by 20 days over the 68-year period, while the ice-free period of lakes decreased by 15 days. Comparison of the above trends with seasonal precipitation data failed to provide an explanation for these observations. In contrast, statistical analyses indicated that a 1C shift in temperature was approximately equal to a 2.5-day shift in spring phenology and a 5-day shift in fall phenology.

What it means
According to the authors, the phonological data they studied "clearly contradict the expected regional warming" that is championed by believers in CO2-induced global warming. In fact, the data represent such a dramatic contradiction of the climate alarmists that the authors openly questioned whether "something [was] wrong with [their] data." However, as they note, "close scrutiny of the original records, protocols, and other relevant information did not reveal any possible source of error." Thus, they ultimately concluded that the length of the growing season on the Kola Peninsula "really declined during the past 60 years due to both delayed spring and advanced autumn/winter."

It is also worth noting the authors' comments on an unfortunate fact of climate-science life. In opening the Discussion portion of their paper, they state that "recent analyses of long-term data sets indicate that some species are already responding to the anomalous climate of the 20th century, confirming the global warming concept." However, as they continue, "data which demonstrate opposite trends also exist, although they are less likely to be submitted and published: moreover, if they happen to be published, they are only rarely referred to in the discussions on climate change."

These comments make us wonder just how many more studies, such as this one, could be published but are not for the reasons described above. We urge all authors facing this predicament to persevere. If you are successful in having your findings published, we will further publicize them on our website.


Reviewed 28 August 2002