Flowers Losing Scent Due to Climate Change

This is a bonus Climate Craziness of the Week. It seemed that while Climategate was raging, we saw an end to bizarre claims such as this.  Now they seem to have resumed again as we saw in yesterday’s story claiming global warming causes more violence. What’s hilarious about this story is that is cites one environmental fear (AGW) and uses another even more feared solution (genetic modification) to save the flowers from AGW. This assumes they need saving.  Reading the story, I wonder; maybe public transportation for the pollinators will help?

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Excerpt From Asiaone News

Flowers Losing Scent Due to Climate Change

KUALA LUMPUR: A rose may stop smelling like a rose.

This is the concern of environmentalists as flowers are losing their scent due to climate change and air pollution. And their fragrance may be lost forever.

Science and Technology Professor Emeritus at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Dr Abdul Latif Mohamad, said genetically modified flowers might be the way out.

Climate change is also the reason Kuala Lumpur City Hall is increasingly turning to shady trees, because flowers which previously formed the centrepiece of its beautification programme have been wilting fast.

Datuk Bandar Datuk Ahmad Fuad Ismail said City Hall used to spend RM1.5 million ($635,100) a month to plant and maintain flowers in the city, but the contractor’s services were terminated in March last year.

City Hall has taken over the planting, opting for bou-gainvillea and the tropical shrubs, Ixora, for their durability and cheaper cost.

Under the previous arrangement, some of the small flowers cost RM3.50 per seedling.

“It was getting too costly to beautify the city. Flowers were dying fast,” he said, adding that City Hall would continue to plant shady trees more suited for soaking up the increasing pollution and coping with global warming.

Latif said UKM might have offered plausible reasons as to why some pollinators were not spreading flower seeds, a pattern caused by the missing “scent trail” with scent tissues burning easily due to global warming.

“The aroma producing chemical compounds in flowers dry up faster now compared with before.”

The only way out, he said, was to genetically modify the flowers so that the effects would not be permanent and the future generation would not be robbed of nature’s beauty.

“The act is almost like producing essential oils. Scientists add on certain chemicals for stronger scent.”

He said scents in flowers last longer in colder climate as plants can hold on to their essential oils longer.

“The flowers may still have strong scents in colder climate. But locally, we fear this might be lost forever.”

With flowers emitting lesser scent, the insects and butterflies are travelling further and longer to get a share of nectar.

Latif said birds and insects were heading towards hilly areas and deeper into the jungles where the weather is cooler.

He related an incident in Sungai Siput, Perak, where the farmers failed to get fruits from their orchards.

Upon investigation, Latif’s team discovered that the flowers were no longer pollinating after dust from a hill blast blocked the growth of stigmas.

He said Malaysians could no longer rely on nature to heal itself without the help of science.

Read the whole mess at Asiaone News

===============================

Commenter John in GA who made the tip writes:

Note that there’s no mention of any application of that “scientific method” thing — some professor at a Malaysian university simply declared it to be true, and so verily it is.  Look for this new AGW “fact” to appear in your kids’ textbooks next year.

The article also states that Kuala Lumpur has had to take somewhat drastic measures, eliminating the planting of flowers in public areas because they were “dying too fast”.  In fact, he says, “The aroma producing chemical compounds in flowers dry up faster now compared with before.”  Really?  When was “before”?  A hundred years ago?  Two months ago?  And how did he establish that chemical compounds are drying up faster due to warming?  With a controlled experiment?  No mention of that.  If his scientific method follows the Gore/IPCC model, it probably went something like this:  “Hmm, flowers aren’t doing so well.  Couldn’t be soil quality, amount of water, quality of seed stock, or anything like that.  No, the only plausible explanation is that the planet is getting hotter, because if there’s one thing we know for certain, it’s that tropical flowers don’t like warmth.  And we know that global warming is caused by CO2 emissions.  Therefore, man-made global warming is killing off flowers, and with them, birds, bees, and farmers.  Call the press.”

Then there’s this:

“Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) director-general Datuk Dr Abdul Latif Mahmod said recently the extreme weather change might affect the life span of trees as a result of lighter or heavier rain.

‘We should look at how trees can be mutated so that they will not be destroyed.'”

I love it — straight from whimsical hypothesis to policy recommendation!  No need to bother with troublesome experiments or any of that stuff.  In the brave new world of AGW, it goes like this:  “Hey, it might be possible that changes in temperature will cause changes in rainfall, and if that happens, then perhaps that would adversely affect trees.  Let’s start genetically mutating trees to compensate.”
“OK, but you said that AGW might cause *more* or *less* rainfall.  Which condition should we try to genetically adjust for?”

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138 thoughts on “Flowers Losing Scent Due to Climate Change

  1. Thanks for the heads-up; we need to keep people aware of the unscientific twaddle that’s being peddled in their name and probably with their money. I think this one comes from the urban myth that “flowers don’t smell like they used to” that’s been said for generations, and is probably more due to a decline in olfactory abilities as one grows older than anything else.

  2. The psychopaths are making false claims with rapidity. It seems the surge in false claims is so that it takes time to disprove them and the propoganda value has already been measured.
    The robust false claims can often be refuted with common sense. Do seeds for flowers ordered from the Burpee catalog give less scent if they are planted in Michigan than Indiana? We are talking a 5 degree difference in daytime highs and nightime lows.
    Since corn yields are higher than 3 decades ago, have bees become more altruistic knowing the corn is being raised for ethanol and saving dirty petrol?

  3. This is the final straw. A rose not smelling like a rose is the perfect excuse to penalise mankind and impose an authoritarian regime and rationing on them!

  4. I’m running out of words with which to express my incredulity.

    That being said, I’m wondering how Dr.Mohamed measured the decline in flower scent. Were there any objective parameters that he measured? Did he even conduct a survey?

    I ask this because I think I know what he’s experiencing, and global warming ain’t to blame. I once spent a period one summer house-sitting in a rather nice part of Toronto, where the pleasure of the peaceful neighbourhood was marred by sewer gases. Since I lived downtown in that period, I was delighted by the shade and gardens, but was distressed to find that I could not detect scent in a single flower I sniffed (and I sniffed quite a few as I could not believe what I was experiencing.) I crossed this neighbourhood near High Park off my future desirable places to live (not that I could even now afford to live there) as a consequence. I’ve no problem smelling the flowers in the much humbler east end area where I now live.

    I suspect that the good Dr. Mohamed’s sense of smell is suffering from a similar sensory overload from other less desirable sources.

  5. “OK, but you said that AGW might cause *more* or *less* rainfall. Which condition should we try to genetically adjust for?”

    I have the solution! The answer is niether! Just smooth away any great swings in climate temperatures by using CLH and CSH:

    Patterned after “Daylight Saving Time,” CLH stands for “Climate Losing Heat,” which is designed to make us feel cooler during warming periods by sliding our thermometer bulbs downward. Conversely during cooling periods, “Climate Saving Heat” will make us feel warmer by sliding them upwards. This should fit right in with the philosophy of the AGWers, as this is what they already do with historical records.

  6. “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,
    so this one would, were it not for the damned Global Warming”

  7. One of the foundations of AGW theory is an expanding tropics. If so, we should see the range of fragrant tropical flowers increase.

    Next time you get off a plane in Barrow, AK you may be greeted with a Lei made of local orchids. Right before you go snorkeling in the Arctic coral reef.

  8. Utter crap of an article. I read an article many years ago about the genetic inverse interrelationship between bloom size and perfume strength in roses. The roses that were bred for fabulous blooms lost their perfume.

    How about a new cause? Mana-Made Flower Perfume Loss? At least that one is real.

  9. The roses in my front yard smell AWESOME! Maybe I should start selling them on e-bay as rare and immune to Global Warming. I could make a fortune!

  10. Texas wildflowers always smell strongest on the warmest days. Nothing like a warm breezy day when the Bluebonnets are in bloom.
    I like the comments John in Ga made. Could soil quality play a part? Maybe spread some of the fertilizer this article is written from and spread it in the gardens?

  11. It is getting weirder and weirder.
    I think we should adopt this way of thinking:
    It seems AGW is causing more and more serious and settled people (mainly scientists) to lose their marbles and start spewing nonsense to the press.
    Maybe genetically modified scientists are the answer to that.

  12. “He related an incident in Sungai Siput, Perak, where the farmers failed to get fruits from their orchards.

    Upon investigation, Latif’s team discovered that the flowers were no longer pollinating after dust from a hill blast blocked the growth of stigmas.

    He said Malaysians could no longer rely on nature to heal itself without the help of science.”

    So the trees flowers where covered/damaged by excessive dust which prevented proper pollination. First, what does this have to do with global warming. Second the dust could have just as easily come from a volcano or dust storm, both of which have been around longer than people and plants and trees seemed to have survived just fine.

  13. Quick! – give that man a big research grant.
    …but come to think of it, I’m sure the water we’re getting these days isn’t as wet as it used to be.

  14. Datuk Bandar Datuk Ahmad Fuad Ismail said (bold mine):

    …City Hall would continue to plant shady trees more suited for soaking up the increasing pollution and coping with global warming.

    Now, you don’t suppose…

  15. “OK, but you said that AGW might cause *more* or *less* rainfall. Which condition should we try to genetically adjust for?”

    Obviously both. You just aren’t thinking very clearly. :)

  16. Nice that he mixes the two, Global Warming & Pollution. That way you can’t be sure which is causing the ‘problem’.

    I’m sure that the warm winter experienced in Canada this year because of El Nino effects has somehow magically affected the pollination of Malaysian flowers, it ‘s some kind of ‘Butterfly effect’ perversion.

  17. C’mon guys, the alarmists are getting frustrated that every time they try to deke out the public we point out the line they’ve crossed. How can their agenda make any progress like that?

    My prediction is that they’re working out new strategies to “hide the deke line”.

  18. There is a pattern. It seems the greenie weenies are urban dwellers. They are in basement bunkers without windows and google with wild abandon and create all these notions. They know the flowers are wilting and they of course never look at them and see the budget for planting didn’t include a person to water the plants.
    All the greenie weenies have such fine intentions and real people that grow food and flowers lean on the greenie urban wackos for how to instructions.

    The middle east is the experiment. The people were less angry and did less harm years ago when the Saudi Peninsula was full of tulips and flowers. Look what we did. We drove cars the turned Northern Africa into the Sahara desert.

  19. A tree that can deal with either more or less rain would be a kind of Mangrove -Cactus.

  20. Can you imagine the hysteria that will be flung when the earth hits a REAL global catastrophe–say the next ice age? On the other hand, they’ll probably be so wrapped up in fictitious hype nobody will recognize it, which will make the actual catastrophe that much worse!

    And someone said humans were intelligent.

  21. I have to agree with this one I’m afraid.
    Chocolate bars are smaller now than when I was a child obviously due to global warming and not my hands getting bigger.
    Adults used to be much taller when I was six but now that I’ve grown up they seem to have stopped growing, again due to global warming.
    Unless we give more money to these experts then I think the world is doomed.
    I have to go and get in my car now that doesn’t run on petrol because 30 years ago when I was at school they told me oil would run out and experts are never wrong.

  22. I’ve noticed that in the summer there are more flowers than in the winter. That means there is a correlation between the two. Now using the same logic as Al Gore uses in assessing the correlation between CO2 and temperature, we can conclude that flowers cause summer. I.e. flowers cause warm weather. Therefore the solution to global warming is to get rid of flowers.

    I should be in politics.

  23. I live in the high dry country of NE Oregon. As I have said, we are a little bit of Idaho or Montana in Oregon. Our climate zone in s.LaGrande is 5a. My wife and I grow about 40 roses of all types,Gallicas, English, Hybrid teas,Floribundas, and one very tough China Tea. My wife loves scent-they all do very well with our
    cold winters and hot summers. Natural fertilizer seems to make the best scent.
    as the way the nutrients are absorbed the results, are best in the next season.
    Now with chemical fertilizers, we use them too-sparingly but they are necessary
    to give growth a boost. I’d say Kulala Lumpur is probably a pretty interesting
    place to garden, but nasty for Roses in general. This is AGW proof is the biggest bunch of Horse manure I have ever read. Horse manure is good for roses, btw..

  24. Along with my birdfeeder I put out suger water for the hummingbirds. Because they are facinating creatures I have done alot of reading [research?] into Hummingbirds. Hummers, a very important pollinator especially in the tropics, rely solely on eyesight to find necter. That’s why they are attracted to the scentless red plastic flowers on my feeder bottle.
    Incidentally, if you’ve ever been around Hummers fighting over a feeder you would realize the truth of the old saw: If Hummingbirds were the size of crows we’d all be wearing helmets.

  25. because flowers which previously formed the centrepiece of its beautification programme have been wilting fast

    scent tissues burning easily due to global warming

    Flowers were dying fast

    daaaaamn! how hot is it getting down there?

  26. Flowers here in East Texas have lost their scent because none of them are blooming yet. Local growers are estimating that our spring is a full 3 weeks late this year.

    Must be that global warming thing.

  27. Dr Abdul Latif Mohamad, said genetically modified flowers might be the way out.

    Follow the money. This person, or someone close to him, stands to gain if the state throws money at genetically modified flowers and trees.

  28. So using the same argument it was climate change, and not plant breeders, that must have been responsible for Musk plants (Mimulus) losing their scent in Victorian times?

  29. Roses were among the first plants to have an inferior ovary. They are old enough to have survived more than 4 glaciations.

    They are not going to lose its scent just because the temps rise 1 or 2 degrees, due to man activities or not.

    There are other things that smell funny here, apart from the roses.

  30. In 1989, I read a front page article in the Wall Street Journal that observed that flowers were losing their scent. In the international world of flower production, it seems, scent is not considered important and is sacrificed when decisions of breeding are made in favor of size, color, number, and durability. Their customers simply did not care, and in the modern office world, scent is sometimes undesirable.

  31. Well, this is certainly a recycled news day:
    http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=4660586&page=1
    http://www.greendaily.com/2008/04/12/flowers-losing-their-scent/
    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/why-flowers-have-lost-their-scent-812168.html

    It’s previously been blamed on “pollutants” and colony collapse disorder. Meh!

    These jokers should take note:
    Flower growers have been deliberately selecting against heavy perfuming plants because they can’t be given to people in hospitals due to their heavy scent. Thus, if these are commercial flowers they are probably reduced scent due to selective breeding. This is one of the driving forces behind the heirloom flower movement to preserve flowers in their more natural state.
    http://www.underwoodgardens.com/-Heirloom-Flower-Seeds/departments/2/

    Another possible problem… not everyone can smell every flower:

    From http://www.heirloomroses.com/roseinfo/rosefaq.htm
    The catalog said my rose was supposed to be fragrant but it isn’t. Why?

    “Sense of smell varies from person to person just as the sense of taste varies. Some varieties provide a fragrance that everyone may smell and others may be more subjective. For instance: John and I and three others of our staff were in the garden checking fragrance. The beautiful, deep pink, climber ‘Viking Queen’ produced a fragrance that John and two others found outstanding. One of the staff and I could smell nothing. I know a rose breeder who says he can never smell any fragrance on a yellow rose.”

  32. So many flowers have been selectively bred for years for color, size, long stems, even ship-ability, fragrance was irrelevant. Now to blame AGW is a total joke. Most of the heirloom and wild roses are incredibly fragrant but their blossom shape was deemed less desirable than the classic tea rose. And besides strong fragrance could ‘clash’ with someone’s perfume! They will be telling us the same thing about the hybrid tomatoes, strawberries and other fruits that lack flavor but can be shipped across several continents to market and not turn to mush, next—got to be global warming that took the flavor out of produce!

  33. I used to go to KL a lot in the 1970’s. It was a much smaller place then-the UHI effect must be considerable these days and couple this with the fact they like really chilly aircon the plants are hardly being used in optimum conditions.

    I recall going to a rose nursery in the Genting Highlands near KL and being told that in the warmth of the lowlands the flowerd had an average life of a day but that was great for florists.

    These days many flowers are deliberately bred for attributes other than scent. In the case of roses long stems or glossy leaves or perfect petals. The European type flowers didn’t last long 30 years ago and it doesn’t seem as though anything has changed.

    Tonyb

  34. Roses are thought to have evolved during the Eocene, when temperatures were up to 7dC higher than today. Temperate forests extended all the way to the poles, and the tropics extended to 45d latitude. So, I guess roses just didn’t smell as sweet in the “old days.”

  35. And on a second thought, aren’t these essential oils what cause bees to find the flower attractive? Would this be necessary if bees were in abundance, and the flowers did not need to genetically compete for the attention?

  36. Henry chance (08:43:30) :

    The psychopaths are making false claims with rapidity. It seems the surge in false claims is so that it takes time to disprove them and the propoganda value has already been measured.
    The robust false claims can often be refuted with common sense. Do seeds for flowers ordered from the Burpee catalog give less scent if they are planted in Michigan than Indiana? We are talking a 5 degree difference in daytime highs and nightime lows.
    Since corn yields are higher than 3 decades ago, have bees become more altruistic knowing the corn is being raised for ethanol and saving dirty petrol?

    If memory serves, the Burpee catalog includes a climate zone map and each item includes a list of climate zones it is compatible with.

    I’m sure that plants being grown outside their appropriate climate zone won’t do as well as when planted in their optimal climate zone. Same goes for too wet or too dry. A non-thriving plant may very well produce less pollen, but I can only speculate.

    My question is what flowers are being planted? Ones native to the local area? Are they appropriate for the local climate?

    And what about smog, sulfur dioxide and other pollutants? Might that have something to do with this?

    The article lists dust as a problem, but doesn’t mention how the climate has changed.

  37. Journalism students must be watching Japanese monster movies from the 50s to get their training in how to write science articles. I can’t see much difference between this insipid reporting and the dubbed dialog.

  38. This is bit like the island Tuvalu which is suffering from a sea level ‘rise’ in eccess of anywhere else. In this case the Kuala Lumpur City Hall has been suffering from AGW which oddly is not being reported in surrounding parks such as the Perdana Lake Gardens. Accordingly the park has “more than 2000 different species of orchid – including more than 800 that are native to Malaysia”. Maybe they should employ a gardener instead of a supplier of flowers.

  39. The roses that I bought from grocery store this last Valentine’s Day had virtually no aroma at all – but they sure lasted a long time! I suspect that maybe wholesale suppliers are are up to something that stretch’s their delivery window and whatever that process entails is what is killing the scent, (already genetic modified? packed in pure nitrogen? ethylene gas absorbers?). Supplying ‘fresh’ flowers is a lot like some wholesale food supply businesses. Given what they do to bananas even though they have to remain safe for consumption, flowers aren’t food so there’s a lot more latitude for ‘doing things’ to them.

    Consumers will eventually get wise to it though and demand to smell the flowers before purchase – then the whole issue will disappear. The roses that grow in my back yard smell just fine BTW.

  40. I don’t know about the flowers but this article smells to AGW high heaven.

    (Oh! I did like the idea of public transportation option for pollinators, Anthony. We don’t want the bees’ little wings to get tired now, do we? Let’s give ’em a bus pass.)

  41. John Luft (09:53:40) :

    “No…flowers aren’t losing their scent….”scientists” are losing their minds”

    If you’ll pardon me I would modify that to;

    No…flowers aren’t losing their scent….”scientists” are losing their sense

  42. Anyone know if there’s a Kuala Lumpur weather station. It would be hilarious if there was no local temperature change to even remotely support the hypothesis.

  43. Maybe this world actually needs a catastophe to purge it of the stupidity it appears to have spawned in the form of the warmista headcases.

  44. Science and Technology Professor Emeritus at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Dr Abdul Latif Mohamad, said genetically modified flowers might be the way out.
    ——————
    Ah yes, retired Muslim professors from Malaysia are certainly at the bleeding edge of AGW research.

    Some more of their work on Arctic Ice melting:
    http://tinyurl.com/yh8gclw

  45. Simon (09:37:45) : “…Chocolate bars are smaller now…Adults used to be much taller….”

    Yes, but global warming can have positive effects, too, Simon. It’s made me much stronger. When I was young, I used to only be able to bring $20 worth of groceries upstairs at a time. Now, I can easily bring up $100 worth!

  46. Is this just another example of a growing problem: possessing a PhD does not necessarily mean one is intelligent or have a handle on common sense?

  47. As noted, the article leaves out a lot. Based on past experience, my first question would be: Did the city change contractors before or after they noticed the “flowers wilting?”

  48. >>
    Henry chance (08:43:30) :

    Since corn yields are higher than 3 decades ago, have bees become more altruistic knowing the corn is being raised for ethanol and saving dirty petrol?
    <<

    You probably can’t blame the bees as corn is pollinated by the wind. You could blame the yields on better hybrids, better farming techniques, maybe better climate, etc.

    They claim that due to global warming the Corn Belt will “move” north where the soils are less fertile and result in reduced yields. The claim is probably bogus, because corn is a tropical plant and grows between the Corn Belt and the equator (and points further south). What they should have said is that the Corn Belt will “expand” north due to global warming, but that wouldn’t cause as much fear and hand wringing. New hybrids could easily handle any minor changes due to climate. Also, higher levels of CO2 improve drought resistance, even for a C4 plant like corn.

    Jim

  49. Flowers Losing Scent Due to Climate Change

    That’s what you tell your beloved when you got ’em cheap.

    At least the birds are doing well from the genetic engineering. When this guy opens his orifice to speak, you hear the plaintive tone of the Gusset Warbler.

  50. Allan M (11:11:10) : That’s what you tell your beloved when you got ‘em cheap.

    A reason to hope mine never comes to this site.

  51. Bird flu, swine flu, an obesity epidemic … these are all minor compared to the really great threat hanging over mankind’s head — we’re in the midst of an epidemic of stupidity and this story is just further confirmation of the problem. These none-too-smart scientists are just now figuring out that their traditional pretty plants and flowers don’t do too well surrounded by acres of concrete and asphalt. *gasp* And the birds and the bees are headed out into the cooler countryside to pollinate plants that continue to thrive in their normal environment. We need scientists to tell us this?

  52. Ignore the man behind the curtain replacing the plants who’s blooming season is ending and replacing them with the next seasons plants, before any plan has a chance to produce unsightly seeds that might start growing were they are not wanted. This is city landscaping after all.

  53. That’s right, blame global warming when the real problem is something else:

    It might be:
    The type of plant is wrong for the area…
    Too much weed killer…
    Other poor agracultural practices…
    The goverment workers were out having a snak and chatting up thier friends instead of watering the plants like they were supposed to…
    The public is using the flower pots for their cigarette butts…

  54. Now the deniers have just gone too far! They are robbing our grandchildren of the scent of flowers.

    Algore! Algore! Save us, Algore!

    Ahh, but salvation is already proposed! “He said Malaysians could no longer rely on nature to heal itself without the help of science.” THAT’S IT! Every citizen around the world can have his own scientist assigned to him. Wow, that’s a pretty big program. Better call the UN and get it added to IPCC scope.

    But wait, every flower needs its own scientist? Good grief, it’s worse than I thought.

  55. I have noticed that as the years go by book and newspaper print has gradually gotten smaller and smaller. Some friends and relatives of mine have noticed the same thing. Obviously an effect of global warming.It must be down to something in the atmosphere because it has even affected books I read years ago.

    Another effect of Global Warming: Manchester United. Ever since Global Warming took off Manchester United have won everything in sight. Back in the day they couldn’t win for toffee. Liverpool however always used to win everything, but now they can’t win for toffee. Definitely must be Global Warming. We know it can’t be anything else so it must be Global Warming.

    And as for Global Warming look no further than all these BBQ’s. Years ago there were no BBQ’s but now everybody has one. I’m sure it would be revealing to produce a graph of rising temperatures and compare it to rising BBQ sales.

    And don’t get me started about PC’s. As I sit here heating up my little bit of atmosphere with my PC…

    Tabloid Science! Who needs the real thing anyway.

  56. A love poem for Dr Abdul Latif Mohamad

    Roses are red,
    Violets are blue,
    But neither flower smells,
    Like this story by you.

  57. This newspiece reeks of cerebral putrefaction. For example:

    Genetic selection has reduced ethylene content to increase longevity. Ethylene is a plant hormone that regulates the metabolic pathway to formation of scent (and ripening etc)

    If you are among the millions who receive flowers on Valentine’s Day, you likely will put your nose to a rose, only to find you can’t catch a whiff of your favorite floral aroma.
    And it isn’t because your sense of smell has diminished. Plant breeding has led to bigger, longer-lasting blooms, but in the process many flowers have lost their scents – a trend University of Florida researchers hope to reverse.
    http://www.scienceblog.com/cms/florida_researchers_try_to_put_scent_back_into_flowers

    He said scents in flowers last longer in colder climate as plants can hold on to their essential oils longer.

    Most scents are not essential oils, and again the genetic pathway to phenolics and terpenoids is favored by the production of ethylene at high temps.:

    These investigations have determined that floral scents are almost always a complex mixture of small (approximately 100-250 D) volatile molecules and are dominated by monoterpenoid and sesquiterpenoid, phenylpropanoid, and benzenoid compounds (Fig. 1). Fatty acid derivatives and a range of other chemicals, especially those containing nitrogen or sulfur, are also sometimes present (for review, see Knudsen et al., 1993 ).
    http://www.plantphysiol.org/cgi/content/full/122/3/627
    http://www.plantphysiol.org/cgi/reprint/135/4/1893

    And temperature increases evolution and production of odiferous compounds:

    Finally, the effect of temperature on fragrance emission has generally received even less attention, but it has been shown that temperature has a strong effect on the quantity of fragrance. For example, total emission of fragrance from Trifolium repens L. flowers was 58% higher at 20°C than at 10°C and all compounds of floral scent were affected by the change in temperature (Jakobsen and Olsen, 1994). http://www.mcdb.lsa.umich.edu/labs/pichersky/references/pub11.pdf

    How come the trolls are not on this tread trying to justify this load of B.S.?

  58. I guess we’ll have to close down all those greenhouses and man made rain forests so the flowers don’t lose their odiferousness.

  59. It’s far more insidious. The flowers are not affected by global warming it’s our noses but they won’t tell you that. 3 more degrees and we won’t be able to smell anything. Deodorant sales will plummet, the perfume industry is doomed. I’ve sold my Eau de Cologne futures already and put the money into developing an electronic olefactory stimulation implant. This will be wifi enabled and you’ll be able to create any fragrance experience you like direct from your mobile phone keypad. Tulips will smell of chocolate, bacon will be the new lavender…where will it end?

  60. noaaprogrammer (08:50:18) :

    “OK, but you said that AGW might cause *more* or *less* rainfall. Which condition should we try to genetically adjust for?”

    It might be even worse if by more or less rainfall he is referring to precipitation that is like rain but not quite. Anyway, I thought that the AGW models said there would be no warming in the tropics – just in the temperate and polar regions.

  61. Is it that Al Gore and XXX rated new-age writer Pachauri are now in the flowers’ business?

  62. Hmmm. Greater warmth ’causes’ flowers to lose their scent?
    I visited a town in South Africa called Graaff Reinet, it’s in the Great Karoo (Place of Thirst). It is slap-bang in the middle of a semi-arid desert where the temperatures soar during the day but plummet after dark. The atmosphere is gin-clear all the time. An evening walk through the well preserved Victorian town, whose church is modelled on Salisbury Cathederal in England, exposes one to the scent of thousands of roses and other scented flowers. There are rose bushes growing there which are certified as being over one hundred years of age. The townspeople are very proud of their scented evenings and a pause to sniff a rose overhanging a fence can lead to an hour’s conversation.
    Have a look at a short movie clip of the town here
    http://www.graaffreinet.co.za/
    And, no, I have no affiliation with this beautiful place.

  63. Well that’s just because most flowers are now grown in hothouses. The Rose capital of the World, in California’s central valley, routinely gets 108 deg F temperatures starting about now; so that doesn’t seem to be bothering the customers of those flowers; that probably smell like an Orangutan’s underarms.

  64. After reading the article my wife called an emergency meeting of her flower and garden club to see what could be done about this catastrophe. Tongue firmly in cheek.

  65. An Obituary printed in the London Times –

    Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:
    – Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
    – Why the early bird gets the worm;
    – Life isn’t always fair;
    – and maybe it was my fault.

    Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).
    His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition..

    Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.

    It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

    Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

    Common Sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault..

    Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

    Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife, Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and by his son, Reason.

    He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers;
    I Know My Rights
    I Want It Now
    Someone Else Is To Blame
    I’m A Victim

    Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority.

  66. “Upon investigation, Latif’s team discovered that the flowers were no longer pollinating after dust from a hill blast blocked the growth of stigmas”

    Have they considered or experimented for dust from a hill, air pollution, contaminated ground water etc.? Might the missing “scent trail” be caused by insects being overwhelmed by other ‘scents’ produced by cars.

    In any case the “global warmig” they refer to might be better described as “local UHI”.

  67. Not surprised their having trouble in Kuala Lumpur. Place was a hell-hole 20 years ago and I expect the population has risen since then! I’m surprised anything grows well in that environment,

  68. I noticed this weekend that global warming causes an increase in traffic. When the weather warms during the spring there is a lot more traffic on my street. You see more people going out for a drive, motorcycles come out, so do antique cars and custom cars. Lots of folks head to the ice cream shops and cafes or just for a drive.

    I think this is one of those dangerous feedback mechanisms. CO2 causes warming which causes more traffic which causes more CO2.

    I should seek some funding for a paper,

  69. Flowering plants and their pollinators really got going during the lower to middle Cretaceous, like about 100 million years ago. You know what REALLY killed the dinosaurs? flowers!

  70. @Shoshin (09:06:27) :

    “Utter crap of an article. I read an article many years ago about the genetic inverse interrelationship between bloom size and perfume strength in roses. The roses that were bred for fabulous blooms lost their perfume.”

    True. I’ve been aware of the same for decades, as a rose fancier. The flashy blooms and disease resistance of modern tea roses caused them to lose their fragrance, which led to a new interest in old garden roses, like the old Bourbon roses that were popular during the Victorian age. Also, breeders have started cross-breeding new patented roses with old roses to regain fragrance. The David Austin roses which have the flashy blooms, colors, and disease resistance of the modern rose and the fragrance of the old-fashioned rose has been one of the best innovations ever. :)

    IOW, the modern rose lost its fragrance because it was bred out of it in favor of color, flash, and disease resistance, as you said. David Austin and other new breeders (“new” as compared to, say, developers of the modern tea rose) are correcting that problem nicely, thank you! :)

  71. @DesertYote (15:26:50) :

    “Flowering plants and their pollinators really got going during the lower to middle Cretaceous, like about 100 million years ago. You know what REALLY killed the dinosaurs? flowers!”

    What… they all got hayfever? :D

  72. Ray (14:57:44) :

    An Obituary printed in the London Times –

    Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. …

    There has been a rapid decline in common sense, it is true. It seems to correlate to the rise in CO2.

    It’s worse than we thought: CO2 is killing common sense!

  73. Just wait a flower-picking moment.

    The average temperatures have increased by, what, less than 1degree in the past century?

    Surely this article has been lifted from The Onion.

  74. I have noticed that it seems to be warmer in the tropics. This is probably related to CO2 rises. I would like to apply for a federal research grant to examine the causes and effects of CO2 rises in tropical temperatures.

    This may take some time, as we are expecting to be forced to visit as many tropical islands as we possibly can. In order to reduce travel expenses and the associated burden on our research grant, we suggest the purchase of our own boat to allow us accommodation and to house our research material. This should further reduce costs.

    One of the main aspects we intend to study is the effect of the increased temperatures on the beading of condensation upon glass. We find this s clear indication of many factors of global warming. We have found that beer is a particularly good material for holding the temperature while studies are made, as we also suggest a large quantity of this material is made available to us to transport with us for studies as required.

  75. I am now off to spend some time examining global warming beside my pool. I am currently seeking grants to help me continue this valuable work to help the progress of science. Offers gratefully accepted.

  76. http://m.theglobeandmail.com/life/health/how-far-would-parents-go-to-ease-their-dying-childs-pain/article1490889/?service=mobile&page=1

    Allergies linked to global warming

    Global warming could mean more sniffles and congestion for hay-fever sufferers.

    Researchers at Genoa University charted the length of pollen seasons, as well as the amount of air-borne pollen, around the northern Italian town of Bordighera from 1981 to 2007.

    “We observed that the progressive increase of the average temperature has prolonged the duration of pollen seasons of some plants and, consequently, the overall pollen load,” one of the researchers, Walter Canonica, said in a statement.

    “Longer pollen seasons and high levels of pollen can certainly exacerbate symptoms for people with allergic rhinitis and for those who previously had minimal symptoms,” commented Estelle Levetin of the University of Tulsa.

    The findings were presented this week in New Orleans at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

  77. And if loss of scent weren’t enough, the Globe and Mail [http://m.theglobeandmail.com/life/health/how-far-would-parents-go-to-ease-their-dying-childs-pain/article1490889/?service=mobile&page=1] informs us:

    “Allergies linked to global warming

    “Global warming could mean more sniffles and congestion for hay-fever sufferers.
    “Researchers at Genoa University charted the length of pollen seasons, as well as the amount of air-borne pollen, around the northern Italian town of Bordighera from 1981 to 2007.
    “‘We observed that the progressive increase of the average temperature has prolonged the duration of pollen seasons of some plants and, consequently, the overall pollen load,’ one of the researchers, Walter Canonica, said in a statement.”

    “Longer pollen seasons and high levels of pollen can certainly exacerbate symptoms for people with allergic rhinitis and for those who previously had minimal symptoms,” commented Estelle Levetin of the University of Tulsa.

    The findings were presented this week in New Orleans at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

    IanM

  78. Further evidence Global Warming alarmists are losing their minds due to Mann-made Climate Change.

  79. What was it that Einstein said ….. ?
    “There are 2 things that are possibly infinite – the Universe and Human Stupidity ….. and I’m not sure about the Universe”

  80. The alarmists are really are slow learners aren’t they? This kind of garbage worked in 2001. It doesn’t work in 2010.

  81. What a load of BS.

    Malaysia has plenty of cheap oil and is well known for heavy use of air conditioning (refrigerative) – with doors left open for the cool air to spill out.

    You can do that when energy is cheap.

  82. Guys,

    You should know by now that any mention of climate change in any study is an automatic funding grant.
    No matter how obviously unscientific or wild the claim is.

  83. In Singapore many city roadsides are fringed with a shrub with pink new leaf growth, similar to aglaonema. We asked a cabbie with limited English what they were and after some thought he replied “I think here that we call them ‘assorted shrubs’.”

    The level of comprehension of the cabbie seems similar to the author of the lead paper here. But it’s not his fault, he was not trained on Botany; nor in global warming.

  84. Nothing smells sweeter than my four o’clock flowers on a warm Florida summer evening. Sorry about your roses.

  85. There seems to be of late a decoupling between what people worry about and what their senses tell them. This past winter has been extraordinarily cold and snowy where most people live yet they read how the winter of ’09-’10 is “the warmest ever”. Your senses tell you it’s really cold and miserable while what you read speaks “warmest ever” to your intellect.

    Cognitive dissonance is when what you sense and what you believe are at odds. It causes great stress to the psyche to simultaneously harbor two mutually contradictory beliefs. I have two suggestions for relieving the conflict:

    1) Discard what your senses tell you or discard the contradictory belief. This is an unsatisfactory solution for people who incorporate global warming as an article of faith. Discarding the offending belief works for those who are intellectually flexible enough to discern the limitations of any scientific theory. The truly faithful are left with the unpalatable option of ignoring their senses.

    2) Consider anthropogenic global warming as a real but humanly insensible entity. Have it exist in a spiritual realm where it cannot be measured or sensed but still commanding devotion and sacrifice. You can then go about your sensate life in harmony with reality while still paying homage to global warming.

    You can then live a low carbon-footprint lifestyle, lament the absence of fragrant flowers and ice in the arctic, despair of shrinking sheep and glaciers and fear for rising sea-levels and human violence because of global warming. It’s all real on a spiritual level then and it doesn’t interfere with your everyday existence.:-)

  86. Flowers Losing Scent Due to Climate Change

    Remember when ‘scientists’ somewhere said breathing causes cancer and everyone that heard it just wanted to chuckle? This is just as silly and it hurts belief in global warming.

    Thank you alarmist ‘scientists’. :-)

  87. Imran (17:48:17) :

    What was it that Einstein said ….. ?
    “There are 2 things that are possibly infinite – the Universe and Human Stupidity ….. and I’m not sure about the Universe”

    I think this is how it goes:

    “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.”

    Not that the minor difference is anything or that this quote is the correct way—but I just wanted it repeated for this headline. ;-)

  88. Amino Acids in Meteorites (21:23:44) :

    Snorting Cocaine Causes Global Warming

    Well I am horrified that the government’s Home Affairs Select Committee snorts that much cocaine, to be honest.

    And I wonder if lines of cocaine snorted outside a London club are just as bad for Global Warming?

    As for the ‘Mirror’ reporting it, that is great irony…..

  89. Actually, the loss of scent from flowers is well known among horticulturalists, it is due to breeding, where breeders breed for visual appeal, this tends to breed scent out of a line. Seems you can have scent, or big beautiful flowers, but not both.

  90. personal anecdote.. we have some lilac bushes had them for 30 odd years, some years,they smell stronger than others. Theres a variation in smell. Last year was a very strong year, year before wasnt as strong.

    this is subjective, (btw usually by this time of year the lilacs will have a fair few leaves,but they are still budsat the moment.

  91. last november I spent a couple of weeks in KL and visited the Malaysian Forestry Research Institute on the outskirts of the city at the foot of some hills, an interesting place, picked up some books in dendrology and timber & tree identification.
    what used to be an isolated area distant from the city is now part of the city, and certainly affected by KL’s UHI effect which is signifigant.
    This city looks more like Los Angeles every day 2million cars a day flow in to the city on 8 lane motorways that ring the city. 4-500 new cars a day being registered, and the city growing fast.
    The smog matches LA as well. Thats why the roses dont smell, they dont get enough sunlight to release the fragrence. In any event most of the roses are grown in the Cameron Highlands 4 – 6000 ft above sea level.

    The downtown area is a vat mass of concrete, my guess is that pollution has more to do with trees and plants growth habits that climate change, although the UHI in the central area around the twin towers is signifigant.

  92. I’m waiting for the day when the alien abduction “scientists” work out that they too can get funding for their “science” if they suggest that aliens may be affected.

    Headline: Alien abductions reduced by xx% yet further proof that …

  93. Mike Lorrey (22:21:59) : “Actually, the loss of scent from flowers is well known among horticulturalists, it is due to breeding, where breeders breed for visual appeal, this tends to breed scent out of a line. Seems you can have scent, or big beautiful flowers, but not both”.

    IMHO, this is not correct. One can select for more than one property at a time. Rose breeders are aware of the need for perfume as well as bloom size and beauty.

    In 1836 a new yellow rose from Tehran, Rose foetida persiana, came to Europe. There had been many, many attempts to breed yellow into other roses, for a century, all over the world. All had failed. Then one M. Pernet-Ducher of Lyon began crossing in 1883 and in 1893 a visitor to his glasshouse noted a single bloom with petal shades of the long-sought orange-yellow, apricot, bright red and salmon. This rose was the breakthrough. Named “Soleil d’Or”, it is the ancestor of roses with those shades. The original yellow partner smells awful. The modern descendents can be delightfully perfumed. (From Harkness, P. “The Photographic Encyclopedia of Roses”).

    Yep, you can select for both.

    I have some yellow flowered camellia species from south China. Do you think I can get the yellow colour to move to more conventional camellias? Nope, not yet. There have probably been over 2 million crosses worldwide, result nil. But, it will happen one day. Nature can be obstinate.

    Like climate change, it needs detailed understanding and experimentation, plus an element of chance.

  94. Having had more than a little exposure to how Malaysian science offices operate, I would say that all of this was a bid for funding from the Malaysian Govt. With Petronas generating vast quantities of funds for the Govt, the scientists all hang around the trough waiting for the next feeding time. Those who squeal the loudest are the ones who get fed the most, and first.

    It’s sad, as there were some excellent scientists whom I met who didn’t play the game, however they left the quasi-private research center for freer climes.

  95. Is it possible that they can’t smell the flowers because they’ve shoved something else up their nostrils?

    Or am I not allowed to say that?

  96. UHI.UHI.UHI.UHI.UHI. (Infinity)

    If skeptics were so powerfully organized these fools would be shamed hardcore-like. Come on Wattsy, go get ’em with your goblin minions!

  97. Most flowers are now grown with much attention payed to the show of the bloom, not the scent. Farmers carefully select “standard bloom bearers” for seed production. What this means is that by such careful and selective pollination and seed production practices, the properties we don’t select for, but like nonetheless, may not ride the “standard bloom bearer” DNA string.

    We may have shot ourselves in the foot on this one. It could be, in nature, that strong scent may not come with a strong flower show, and visa versa. If farmers continue to select for strong bloom, our own desires for “more beautiful” may have caused the scent to disappear.

  98. This made Fox News last night – at the end of the segment they quoted Roy Spencer as saying that the researchers must have mixed mushrooms with the flowers . ( Or words to that effect .)

  99. “Flowers Losing Scent Due to Climate Change”

    This claim doesn’t pass the “smell test”.

    In a couple of years, they’ll release a study that Flowers have increased scent due to global warming. Oh wait – they can’t do that, that would be assigning a positive attribute to global warming.

  100. I feel so much better now.

    Years ago, for romantic moments, I merely had to buy my wife some roses.

    The amorous paybacks more than made up for the financial investment.

    However, I’ve noticed this is no longer true.

    “Is this due to a drop in my attractiveness to her?”, I would say in my secret heart.

    But now I know.

    It’s not me, its the roses. They just ain’t what they used to be.

    Whew.

  101. In 1836 a new yellow rose from Tehran, Rose foetida persiana, came to Europe.

    Hmm. Do these “domestic” species attract anything other than hovering horticulturalists for pollinators? Sounds like “foetida persiana” might lure bugs like flies and beetles, moths, etc.

    There’s a Colorado wildflower, a genre of primrose, that likes bogs and streamsides, and it smells terrible. It’s called a Parry Primrose. As far as I know, it got to smelling that way all by itself. Maybe the stinky ones reach a “tipping point” where they are just available to the “lower classes” of pollinators (“Hey, sailor…”)

    There’s an Italian opera here somewhere.

  102. As far as I know, it (parry primrose) got to smelling that way all by itself. Maybe the stinky ones reach a “tipping point” where they are just available to the “lower classes” of pollinators…

    Come to think of it, the only place I’ve ever seen this flower in Colorado is on alpine streamsides – by flowing water – which might itself serve as the agent for the spread of its pollen.

    Which probably raises some questions too. You’ve got your sweet smellers, your stinky smellers, and some flowers and plant scents to which insect pollinators shrug with indifference.

    So, what climate conditions created the need for wind, or water-born, or asexual reproduction? If climatic transformations weren’t partly responsible, I would be surprised. Long cold periods no doubt killed off a lot of flowers dependent on a single pollinator, but the “perfect” glacier lily (with both male and female reproductive organs) probably managed without bumblebees.

    The warmers love the phrase “tipping points”, but they must have been routine in nature, no CO2 necessary.

  103. P Walker (11:12:38) : ….. Roy Spencer as saying that the researchers must have mixed mushrooms with the flowers..

    Or maybe it was the ‘nose candy’ ? (C’mon, does anyone really believe they actually spent $30 billion on climate research alone?)

  104. I came upon this article when looking for an answer to my concern that flowers no longer are producing scent like they used to. As a child growing up in the southwestern desert, I was fortunate to be raised to enjoy nature and spent many hours outside. I revelled in the smell of blooming flowers and trees. We also had an area of many hundreds of acres of Japanese flower gardens in the south of the city and some spring afternoons we would drive there to enjoy the beauty and buy fresh-cut bouquets of different flowers from the growers. These flowers would infuse our home with fragrant aromas for several weeks. Later, I worked in the travel industry and traveled all over the world. The first trip to Hawaii left the memory of being intoxicated by the amazing floral scents at the airport where the flower vendors sold their leis. About 6 yrs. later, I traveled to the same airport and was surprised and disappointed that the floral aroma was not there any longer. I did not understand why that was, and assumed that there must be fewer vendors, but realized later that many of the flowers I sniffed no longer gave off that wonderful smell. I have a beautiful lawn and pots of flowers and flowering bushes. Rarely can I detect an aroma, regardless of the time of year. By the way, I have an extremely keen sense of smell, so this is not the issue. I have been troubled by this for several years now, and am looking for the reason. I still am well traveled, and ask others if they can smell any aroma from natural flowers or floral shop displays and most cannot. I find this to be the case everywhere! This Easter I received a gift of a potted white Easter Lilly. It had no discernable fragrance, unless you put your nose right in it. However, a few days ago, I came home from a meeting late at night and was greeted by a heavy beautiful fragrance that filled my entire kitchen where the plant was on display. It lasted just for one night, and now is back to giving off very little smell. I wish I knew why and how this happened.

    Rather than arguing about global warming pros & cons, and whether people are misconstruing facts, why not examine a real, verifiable issue. Flowers are not giving off fragrances like they used to. Something has changed. But, what, and why?

  105. I wonder if there’s a connection to the use of Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether in gasoline? MTBE easily dissolves such scent oils – maybe it only takes only a trace amount of it to screw up a flower’s ability to manufacture them?

    The scent in flowers is there as an attractor for the bees to find them. Given that bees have had a rough time over the last several years, I then also wonder if this lack of scent has any bearing on the decrease in the bee population?

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