Plant phenological variation related to temperature in Norway during the period 1928-1977.
ABSTRACT First flowering was observed in some native herbaceous and woody plants in Norway at latitudes of ∼58°N to nearly 71°N from 1928 to 1977. For woody plants, the timing for first bud burst was also often observed. Generally, there were highly significant correlations (0.1% level) between the timing of nearly all spring-early summer observations in plants and gridded mean monthly temperatures for the various phenophases (up to 65% of the variance was accounted for, less so for the autumn phenophases). Analyses by a low pass Gaussian smoothing technique showed early phenophases in the warm period of the early 1930s, delayed phases for most sites and species in colder periods in the early 1940s, mid-1950s, late 1960s and also towards the end of the study period in the late 1970s, all in approximately 10- to 12-year cycles. The study thus starts in a relatively early (warm) period and ends towards a late (cooler) period, resulting in mainly weak linear trends in phenophases throughout the total period. The end of the observation period in 1977 also predates the strongly increasing "earliness" in phenology of plants in most Norwegian lowland areas due to global warming. The strong altitudinal and latitudinal variations in Norway, however, do cause regional differences in trends. The study showed a tendency towards earlier spring phenophases all along the western coast from south to north in the country. On the other hand, the northeasternmost site and also the more continental sites in the southeast showed tendencies to weak trends for later phenophases during the 50 years of these field observations.