Cherry Picking Real Cherries

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

Now that the cherry trees have bloomed in Kyoto this year, I’ve been seeing people claiming that the cherry blossoming record shows the dreaded “Climate Change!!!”, and we’re all gonna die. Here’s an example:

Now, cherries blossoming earlier on that chart mean the temperature is warmer. I looked at that and thought “Hmmm … why would the full flowering dates of the cherry trees be relatively stable for about a thousand years, and then suddenly start moving earlier in the year?”

The first thing that came to my mind? “Population”. As a city’s population increases, the “urban heat island” effect causes the temperature inside the city limits to increase. And the more people in the city, the warmer than the surrounding countryside it usually becomes.

So I went and got the cherry blossom data here. And I dug around and after much frustration and a reasonable sprinkling of expletives, I got Kyoto population data here and here and here. What I found is that after the Meiji restoration in 1868, the population of Kyoto rose very rapidly.

Below is the result. Unlike the graphic above, I’ve inverted the left-hand vertical axis so that warmer is higher and colder is lower on the graph. Here you go:

As is usual in the world of climate … things are rarely as simple as folks make them out to be. Are there other factors involved in cherry blossom timing? Absolutely—temperature, humidity, rainfall, and changes in tree species have to be some of the players in the game … and it certainly seems that population is among them. No surprise there. Willis’s First Rule of Climate states, “Everything is related to everything else, which in turn is affected by everything else … except when it isn’t.”

Here on our springtime forest hillside with a tiny bit of the ocean visible in the distance, I spent half the day yesterday with a digging bar and a posthole digger, trying to get the remains of a rotted 6″x6″ (150mm x 150mm) wooden gatepost out of the ground so I can put in a new one. It was most recalcitrant, held in the ground by the remains of the concrete it had been set in, plus plenty of temporal inertia. Even after I’d used the digging bar to crack up the concrete, it still held fast.

After far too much sweat I thought “You idiot!”, and I went and grabbed my Hi-Lift jack, threw a strap around what was left of the post, and yanked it out of the ground like a rotten tooth …

… sometimes it takes me a while, but I generally get there in the end.

Best to all on this marvelously complex planet,


My Perennial Request: I can defend my words, but not your interpretation of my words. Please quote the exact words you’re discussing so we can be clear on your subject.

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March 30, 2021 10:07 am

Willis Good article, as always.
One more thing that urbanization does, is light pollution. This paper quantifies the effect on earlier budding. Its as important a factor as warmth. Perhaps even a greater factor.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
March 30, 2021 2:16 pm

Plotting the flowering date against use of fertilizers would be interesting too….don’t forget guano staring in the mid – 1800’s…and the expanding use of automatic sprinklers from the 1960’s….

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
March 30, 2021 4:14 pm

I was taught that length of day is the determining factor, not temperature.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
March 30, 2021 6:32 pm

Although probably not a problem at the Kyoto location, the amount of light pollution at the USNPS Indicator Tree for Cherry Blossom near NPS Headquarters in Washington, DC, is enough to potentially make a difference there. The current LED fixtures along Interstate 395 are just one block away, and elevated above the tree.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
March 31, 2021 12:35 am

A pedantic point, but worth bringing up: are we sure that the data are based on a consistent calendar? I’m pretty certain Medieval Japan did not use the current Julian Calendar.

Steve Z
Reply to  Les Johnson
March 30, 2021 10:39 am

I’ve also noticed that deciduous trees along the sides of streets near street lights tend to keep their leaves longer in the autumn than the same species of trees in nearby forests without artificial lighting. In early November, one can even see more leaves on the side of a single tree facing the street light than on the side away from the street light.

Reply to  Steve Z
March 30, 2021 10:58 am

Dang those polluting trees and their water vapor contributions.

Reply to  ResourceGuy
March 30, 2021 3:18 pm

Ronald Reagan once claimed that trees cause more pollution than cars.

Reply to  John Shewchuk
March 30, 2021 9:48 pm

And even the Graniad agrees with Ronnie. So stated, not claimed.

Reply to  John Shewchuk
April 4, 2021 1:39 pm

I understand trees emit particles, which are the cause of haze in some mountainous areas to the west of the US Capitol.

Reply to  Keith Sketchley
April 4, 2021 1:39 pm

I don’t mean pollen.

Reply to  Steve Z
March 30, 2021 10:59 am

Yes l have noticed the the same thing happen with the trees near where l live. The leaves that are directly under the street light,will remain on the tree for a week or 2 longer. Compared to those on the other side of the tree that are shaded from the street light.

Reply to  taxed
March 30, 2021 5:24 pm

In 2018, organic aerosols made up about 23% of the aerosol pollutants in Los Angeles, a large portion of which is due to chemicals emitted by plants.

Reply to  Peter
March 31, 2021 12:21 am

The Happening!

Reply to  Les Johnson
March 30, 2021 11:11 am

Light pollution is probably not something that we in the UK are going to have to worry about, as our government switches us from fossil fuels to unreliables 🙂

Reply to  Les Johnson
March 30, 2021 11:34 am

Does anyone know how much the increase in atmospheric CO2 affects blossom time?

Reply to  fred250
March 30, 2021 11:48 am

Not much time for searching today…


Seems increased CO2 may also cause early blossoming…

… more searching needed for cherry blossom specific data..

Flowering time in 40 published studies involving both crops and other plant species exposed to e[CO2] (from 350 to 1000 ppm) showed 28 cases (different species within the same study is considered a case) in which flowering time was earlier (average 8.6 days) and 12 cases in which flowering was delayed (average 5.2 days)..

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
March 30, 2021 7:46 pm

Yep.. inconclusive. Too busy to do a further search though.

Reply to  fred250
March 30, 2021 1:49 pm

A forensic bio-climatologist could answer your questions, but those guys are expensive….though extensive in answer.

Reply to  Les Johnson
March 30, 2021 12:08 pm

That is a good piece of lateral thinking. And if you continue to tug on that thread, and assume lighting crudely follows electrification, this may be pertinent:

Electricity Generation in Japan by Source (1955 – 2017)
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Last edited 1 year ago by Anon
Reply to  Anon
April 4, 2021 1:48 pm

A shame, they’ve replaced nuclear power with fossil fuel power. (Not that fossil fuel power is bad.)

I read that Germany has replaced its nuclear power with natural gas from Russia.

Nuclear power stations are of course good for base load, natural gas is good for rapid response (more necessary with variability of solar and wind, if hydro dams or other storage not available).

John Tillman
Reply to  Les Johnson
March 30, 2021 1:14 pm

Paving and buildings store heat during the day and release it at night. Air conditioning moves heat outside. Vehicle exhausts, home, office shop and factory heating in winter, plus light, as you say, all good for cherry trees. Plus the more abundant CO2 as plant food and reducing water requirements.

Reply to  John Tillman
April 4, 2021 1:48 pm

Warmer nights sound good, as freezing kills people and food sources.

To bed B
Reply to  Les Johnson
March 30, 2021 1:22 pm

I know that adding potassium to the soil will stimulate lawn to continue growing for longer into Autumn, and earlier in Spring. ImFertiliser might also be a factor.

Reply to  To bed B
April 4, 2021 1:51 pm

Different elements have different benefits, IIRC three in common home-garden fertilizers – roots, leaves, …. You want good roots to get moisture into the plant. where I live, watering of new trees is important in summer, after a few years they can handle life themselves.

John Tillman
Reply to  Les Johnson
March 30, 2021 1:24 pm

Wim Röst
Reply to  Les Johnson
March 30, 2021 3:03 pm

Adding specific wavelengths stimulates flowering. In greenhouses where flowers are grown the adding of specific wavelengths is planned well.

Some more information:
‘” Blue Light Wavelengths (400–500 nm)
Blue light has distinct effects on plant growth and flowering. In general, blue light can increase overall plant quality in many leafy green and ornamental crops.”


Higher intensities of blue light (>30 μmol·m-2·s-1) can inhibit or promote flowering in daylength-sensitive crops. Blue light does not regulate flowering at low light intensities (<30 μmol·m-2·s-1), so is safe to be applied at night to influence the other plant characteristics listed above”

Wim Röst
Reply to  Wim Röst
March 30, 2021 3:10 pm

To be added: even in mid-winter plants in greenhouses are forced to blossom by adding sufficient light of a specific wavelength. Of course temperature, plant nutrition, water and not to forget the artificially added CO2 have to be right as well.

Reply to  Les Johnson
March 30, 2021 8:44 pm

I wonder whether the change over to LED street lighting which are brighter make a difference?

Reply to  Les Johnson
March 31, 2021 5:49 am

You’ve hit the nail on the head. Light is so important to growing plants, anyone who grows hydroponically indoors (whether the crop is legal or not) will know this. Some growers keep lights on up to 20 hours a day it brings the crop to maturity far far earlier. Mike Tyson might be able to give you more detailed information.

Reply to  Les Johnson
March 31, 2021 9:05 am

Would not the increase of airborne plant fertilizer aka CO2 also help the cherry trees grow faster and bloom earlier?

John Tillman
March 30, 2021 10:23 am

I don’t suppose there is a rural area of Japan with cherry blossom records extending back cneturies. Maybe a monastery. Ideally the trees would always have had the same degree of shade and sun exposure.

Last edited 1 year ago by John Tillman
Paul Johnson
Reply to  John Tillman
March 30, 2021 11:46 am

While centuries-old data from rural Japan may be hard to find, the Urban Heat Island effect should be apparent by comparing rural and urban blossom dates in any given year over a much shorter timeframe. Spacial mapping of blossom dates might make a good proxy for the both the extent and magnitude of the UHI.

Alan M
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
March 30, 2021 6:05 pm

And what appear to be earlier ‘nodes’ around the major cities

Reply to  John Tillman
March 30, 2021 4:03 pm

Better yet, locate peach blossoming dates in Japan by year and contrast to the cherry blossoming dates. Peach orchards are usually located in rural farming areas, less influenced by the urban heat island effect.

Ian Magness
March 30, 2021 10:28 am

Sky News in the UK covered it:
Japan sees earliest cherry blossom since 1400s – and scientists say it’s down to climate change

Aside from being generally absurd, it contains the following gems:
1)      “Climate change has led to the earliest cherry blossom season in Japan in 1,200 years, experts say. The peak bloom arrived on 26 March in Kyoto, the earliest since 27 March 1409, while in Tokyo they reached full bloom on 22 March – the second-earliest date since 1953.”
2)      “Evidence, like the timing of cherry blossoms, is one of the historical ‘proxy’ measurements that scientists look at to reconstruct past climate,” climate scientist Michael Mann told The Washington Post. “In this case, that ‘proxy’ is telling us something that quantitative, rigorous long-term climate reconstructions have already told us – that the human-caused warming of the planet we’re witnessing today is unprecedented going back millennia.”
3)   ” Scientists have tracked the Japanese cherry blossom 732 times since the year 821, the longest and most complete seasonal record.”
It’s good to know that such proxy records are so absolutely complete. It’s also heartening that our climate hero Mann has got his ducks in a row, informing us that a subjective and patchy record going back hundreds of years proves what climate computer models have been telling us that present day warming is unprecedented “going back millennia”.
Oh, and, by the way Micky, these records appear to have been taken in the middle of major cities. So, no UHI effect “going back millennia” then?

Reply to  Ian Magness
March 30, 2021 1:52 pm

‘Fact checkers’ will say

  • “scientists say it’s down to climate change”
  • “Climate change has led to the earliest cherry blossom season in Japan in 1,200 years, experts say.”

Arguments about UHI or light pollution will be ignored or belittled. It’s depressing.

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  Ian Magness
March 30, 2021 4:17 pm

So one day earlier than 1409. That sounds like runaway warming to me.

Steve Z
March 30, 2021 10:32 am

Didn’t we see an article earlier this week where the forsythia blossoms were later than usual this year in Germany?

Does that mean that the climate is warming in Kyoto but cooling in Germany? So much for “global” warming!

Probably the “urban heat island” does have an effect. Transplant those cherry trees to a rural area at the same latitude and elevation, and they would probably bloom later in the year.

Farmer Ch E retired
Reply to  Steve Z
March 30, 2021 8:13 pm

Japan is one region that does not necessarily reflect cherry blossom timing in other regions.

March 30, 2021 10:44 am

I like the coincidence of the population and DOY hockey sticks. But more interesting are all the pink dots showing the yearly values. The recent <90 for DOY must be concerning for the alarmists. But we had some in year 900, 1400, and 1600 also. Must be those non-existent medieval warm periods !


Joseph Zorzin
March 30, 2021 10:49 am

As if earlier cherry blossoms is something to panic over.

H. D. Hoese
March 30, 2021 10:53 am

“You idiot!….”, Living in Louisiana for 3 decades where you can watch things rot, I am sure that I would win in an idiot contest. Been watching RFDTV since its inception, latest had an ad for a metal fence post installer. Required an air driven hammer device, air compressor, vehicle to carry it. Don’t recall seeing one for a puller.

Invasive tropical mangroves just got killed way back in Texas and Louisiana.

Reply to  H. D. Hoese
March 30, 2021 1:05 pm

My forsythia in Kansas look like crap–worst they have ever looked in the 30 years they have been here. Also very late blooming this year. Must be global cooling, or at least the freeze of the century a month ago.

March 30, 2021 10:53 am

Researchers have carried out a review of the evidence on the physiological effects of artificial light and its disturbance to the daily and seasonal patterns of plants and plant– animal interactions. For example, it is well documented that artificial light can prolong the retention of leaves in an urban environment and initiate early onset of bud burst in the spring,

From, “Artificial light at night — the impact on plants and ecology”

Keith Rowe
March 30, 2021 10:55 am

Is there a cherry blossom record for a more remote location?

March 30, 2021 10:57 am

The Urban Heat Islanders in the leftist urban centers get off much too easy on their contribution to climate change. Take for example the urban planners and their professional; associations that have gone all in on the climate religion. They still dictate vast swaths of land for asphalt parking lots for maximum Christmas shopping times in the case of retail stores and strip mall developers but don’t own up to what this did over time.

March 30, 2021 10:57 am

Introduction of neon and lately LED street lighting (emitting UV light wavelengths) enhanced plant growth in its vicinity.

March 30, 2021 11:00 am

Was Kyoto on the target list late in WW2?

Richard Thornton
Reply to  ResourceGuy
March 30, 2021 12:26 pm

Kyoto was specifically spared because it was assumed the bombing on the cultural sites would further inflame the japanese people and possibly prolong the war.

John Tillman
Reply to  ResourceGuy
March 30, 2021 3:01 pm

Saved by US Secretary of War Stimson, who had often visited there while governor of the Philippines, allegedly honeymooning in the sacred city:

March 30, 2021 11:05 am

I am certain that the Capital Weather Gang knows that all of Japans cherry trees that bloomed in 812 AD are still alive and therefore are giving us a continuous record of bloom time to rely on.

Because if they are not still all alive, then their whole premise of cherry bloom records is faulty because it’s spliced. And they would never ever do that.

March 30, 2021 11:10 am

Good point, Willis. It is hotter in town. Not the whole world.

The theory of global warming due to AGW actually is claimed to be due to a delay of heat escaping into space. Consequently, it should be minimum temperatures that should be increasing. My first step was therefore to look at minimum temperatures, especially in winter.
Here in Pretoria we have dry winters but it gets cold and people burn coal and wood to stay warm at night. I was surprised to find Tmin dropping:
despite a large increase in the population over the past 40 years.
Tmean is a red herring. Tmin will tell you all you need to know….

Reply to  HenryP
March 30, 2021 11:42 pm

Note the increase in Tmean versus latitude.
If only we had same data for Tmin.
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Reply to  HenryP
March 31, 2021 1:16 pm

4C in northern Russia and Canada since 1960 ? Show us your data…or is it all from those Northern Russian outposts that got their allotment of winter heating fuel depending on temperature, so they would push the thermometer bulb down as much as possible every year.

Michael in Dublin
March 30, 2021 11:15 am

I am trying a cherry, “Stella,” in a large pot in a small garden. This is now the second year (4½ feet) and it is forming many flowers. Any good advice about when and how to prune the roots and replace the soil? I want to limit the size of the tree but not go the Bonsai route.

Reply to  Michael in Dublin
March 30, 2021 1:43 pm

I have a dwarf ginko now 20 years old in a large pot. I have pruned heavily every 3-4 years, including cutting off the outside of the root ball where it is choked. For the cherry, having dwarfing rootstock to start with would also help.

March 30, 2021 11:17 am

Our sweet cherry tree just started blooming a couple of days ago. The pie cherry tree hasn’t bloomed yet, but the buds are swollen. The sweet cherry tree is about ten feet further south, so I’m sure it’s latitude.

Good news about the blooming because it got down to -20F a couple of months ago (very, very, unusual around here) and it killed a lot of things.

Hi-Lift jacks are a good thing.

March 30, 2021 11:18 am

hydraulics are my friend.

I had one metal fence post 2 ft in ground with 6″ diameter cement poured that I had to hook the bed of a 14 cu yd dump truck to with a chain to lift out of the ground.

it bent the bed rail on the dump body.

roots in field had taken hold of it.

Joe B
March 30, 2021 11:31 am

Excellent article, as always.
Decades ago, I regularly rode a motorcycle from upstate New York into the city over a multi month timeframe.
Motorcycle riders are particularly sensitive to temperature changes.
There was a very precise location, coming down a long hill in Westchester county, where the temperature abruptly changed to several degrees warmer (a welcome relief).
This was especially noticeable at night time.

While we all recognize the significance (or should ) of the urban heat island effects, the degree (no pun intended) of the impacts ought not to be underestimated.

Abolition Man
March 30, 2021 11:34 am

Short but sweet; like a dwarf bing cherry tree! Did you consider trying to pull out the cycles in the data and what is the correlation between the two (besides reallly high?)
As a devoted Japonophile I’m always happy to see pictures of the beauty of Japanese architecture and culture. Spent the last couple of weeks viewing and digesting Kurosawa’s great samurai films with Toshiro Mifune; next month it will be the Samurai trilogy with Mifune starring under the direction of Inagaki.
Speaking of cherry, have you ever worked much with cherry wood? I did an home office remodel with cherry casing, crown and wainscoting about thirty years ago. I like to use a combination of a jigsaw and small angle grinder with a sanding disc for my cope joints in crown. The smell of the cherry as it was being sanded was a definite plus; the dot com boom sure was great until it wasn’t!

John Tillman
Reply to  Abolition Man
March 30, 2021 2:20 pm

Mifune was a Methodist, born to missionaries in China.

Abolition Man
Reply to  John Tillman
March 30, 2021 3:25 pm

He’s in my top ten actors list after watching Seven Samurai, Hidden Fortress and Yojimbo! I wonder how much Eastwood studied him for his Sergio Leone characters!

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Abolition Man
March 30, 2021 8:40 pm

We have something else in common.

Abolition Man
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
March 31, 2021 8:48 am

You mean besides disliking the lies and deceptions of the alarmists and their acolytes, and enjoying the shared truths and wisdom of the writers and commenters here!?
I’m very glad to hear it!

March 30, 2021 11:36 am

A other factor that casts doubt on man made CO2 been the cause of this earlier blooming.
ls the fact the trend started as early has around 1850. Which would have been to early for man made CO2 to be the cause.

March 30, 2021 12:10 pm

And is it actually “warming” in Kyoto ?

Not much happening in Japan overall

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Last edited 1 year ago by fred250
Rud Istvan
March 30, 2021 12:12 pm

See the same blossoming phenomenon with crabapples between my Chicagoland townhome and my SW Wisconsin dairy farm. In both cases the trees are close to the houses, within about 50 feet. But in the NW Chicago suburb (Northbrook), the bloom is almost always at least a week to ten days before the farm mainly because of UHI even though I overlook the second green on an 18 hole golf course (Mission Hills) that should mitigate some UHI. Farm is slightly more north (about 60 miles) and at a slightly higher elevation (about 400 feet), but in the same west to east weather patterns temporally offset by about 180 miles. Good enough UHI indicator.

Robert of Texas
March 30, 2021 12:18 pm

Once again, proxies are never as simple as they seem to be. They are using the “cherry picking” date as a proxy for temperature change, but in fact it isn’t that simple. A few things I can think of of the bat is:

1) Amount of water – are the trees getting supplemented with water?
2) Amount of nutrients – are the trees being fertilized?
3) Pesticides – are the trees being protected from disease?

Then there are the other obvious factors – urban heat blanket, constant gardener care, additional CO2 in the atmosphere.

I would think a longer growing season is good, but they will find some way to spin this as bad.

(Side note: The Eastern Dogwood I took from northeastern Oklahoma and planted into my Texas clay yard-from-hell survived the freezing binge quite well. Many of my Texas native or Texas Hardy plants and shrubs are dead, Dead, and DEAD. I take good care of my dogwood and this year it bloomed both early and more splendidly then ever. It must be climate change.)

March 30, 2021 12:46 pm

Nearby buildings create a solar-cooker effect (diffuse radiation from larger surface area).
Nighttime lighting helps.
Yeah population built all that.
What a farce of a conclusion. Nice job, Willis.

Don Thompson
March 30, 2021 1:19 pm

Thanks, Willis.

This is such an obvious confirmation bias example. It highlights the type issues found in a lot of “peer reviewed” articles–look only at the “key” variables identified by the author, while
failing to consider other [well-known] variables such as ones discussed in the comments–change in lighting. UHI, CO2 fertilization, precipitation trends.

It is parallel to the failure to give prominence to the Climate Reference Data Stations Network (modest warming). At the same time, hype the stations used by GISS and others that are plagued by changing environmental factors. Both this article and GISS get the answer they are expecting, while ignoring “the science.”

To bed B
March 30, 2021 2:27 pm

Proxies just seem to be a regression to the days before reasoning that you needed to control other variables in order to see a relation between an independent and dependent variable.

Proxies are an indicator of a trend that is never direct evidence. It’s in the name. It’s like circumstantial evidence in a court case and, in some cases, like a damning fingerprint reconstructed from cherry picked partials that doesn’t look anything like the partials joined together.

Jim Steele
March 30, 2021 2:32 pm

Indeed the the alarmists at WAPO, the Capital Weather Gang, ignore the documented different shifts to early bloom times due to population differences. They ignore the urbanization effect as well as the fact that early bloom times have been noted before

From Primack (2009) The impact of climate change on cherry trees and other species in Japan:

“The cumulative flowering record over this 1200-year period shows a 6-week range in flowering dates from as early as late March to as late as early May”

“At locations near Kyoto, Osaka, and Tokyo, urban, suburban, and rural locations had similar times of cherry blossom festivals in the 1950s (Omoto and Aono, 1990; Aono, 1997). The similarity in phenology indicates that urban, suburban and rural areas had essentially the same temperatures in the spring. However, over next 50 years, flowering times in urban, suburban, and rural sites at each of these cities gradually began to diverge, with urban areas flowering earlier than nearby rural and suburban areas. By the 1980s, the warmer temperatures in the city had shifted the flowering of cherry trees 8 days earlier in central Tokyo in comparison with nearby rural areas, and 4–5 days earlier in central Kyoto and Osaka than nearby rural areas.”

Last edited 1 year ago by Jim Steele
Abolition Man
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
March 30, 2021 3:33 pm

His book, Landscapes and Cycles, is a great source for weaning alarmists off their reality altering mind drugs!

Jim Steele
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
March 30, 2021 8:34 pm

Thanks Willis,

I missed the media’s cherry blossom hype until I saw your post. It seems every few years cherry blossoms get pushed as evidence of climate change. A quick google and twitter look revealed nearly every media outlet is pushing it. So added my own take to FaceBoo and NextDoor

Cherry-picking to promote a Climate Crisis

This is another blatant example of the media spreading misinformation to foment a climate crisis to an unsuspecting public.

On March 29th, the Guardian ranted, “Climate crisis ‘likely cause’ of early cherry blossom in Japan”. Washington Post blasted “Japan’s Kyoto cherry blossoms peak on earliest date in 1200 years, a sign of climate change.” The BBC proclaimed cherry blossoms “in the city of Kyoto peaked on 26 March, according to data collected by Osaka University. Increasingly early flowerings in recent decades are likely to be a result of climate change, scientists say.” Similar stories suggesting evidence of climate crisis were repeated by virtually all the media outlets.

This year’s bloom was indeed very early, that much is true. But how does published science compare to media narratives that suggest crisis after crisis to attract readers and profit. First consider the previous record was set during the Little Ice Age, when peak flowering in Kyoto happened on March 27, 1409. More importantly, urbanization is known to cause earlier bloom times. So observing the earliest peak blooming date is just 1 day earlier after 600 years, certainly doesn’t suggest a climate crisis.

In the 2009 peer-reviewed research paper “The impact of climate change on cherry trees and other species in Japan”, scientists compared peak blooming date in cities compared to dates in nearby rural areas to estimate the urban heat effect. Researchers determined, “At locations near Kyoto, Osaka, and Tokyo, urban, suburban, and rural locations had similar times of cherry blossom festivals in the 1950s. The similarity indicates that urban, suburban and rural areas had essentially the same temperatures in the spring. However, over next 50 years, flowering times in urban, suburban, and rural sites at each of these cities gradually began to diverge, with urban areas flowering earlier than nearby rural and suburban areas. By the 1980s, the warmer temperatures in the city had shifted the flowering of cherry trees 8 days earlier in central Tokyo in comparison with nearby rural areas, and 4–5 days earlier in central Kyoto and Osaka than nearby rural areas.”

Osaka is just 34 miles from Kyoto. A detailed study in 1989 from 80 locations around Osaka City “determined the first flowering was recorded starting on March 19 at locations in the city center Flowering was recorded at successively later dates at distances farther from the city center. At around 7 km from the city center, plants were starting to flower as much as 8 days later than in the city center.” Peak flowering happens about 1 week after first flowering, so that would make Osaka’s peak flowering date March 26, 1989, the exact same as Kyoto in 2021.

Finally consider the science presented by NOAA’s Thomas Karl in his 1988 publication Urbanization: Its Detection and Effect on the United States Climate Record. After controlling for other factors, NOAA scientists determined to what degree a larger population affected the average temperature. Tokyo’s population is 13.5 million, Osaka’s population is 2.7 million and Kyoto’s population is about 1.5 million. According to Karl that would increase Kyoto’s average temperature by about 1.8F (1C), and Tokyo’s by 4.6F (2.6C), relative to natural habitat or rural areas. That’s the same or more than is attributed to the increased global average from rising CO2.

Make no mistake about it, the media is inciting climate alarm where there is none, and they imply their false narratives really represent “good science”. Beware. Like the range of peak cherry blossom flowering dates, the wisdom shared in an 1849 Edgar Ala Poe short story also remains unchanged. “Believe nothing you hear, and only one half that you see.”

Wim Röst
Reply to  Jim Steele
March 30, 2021 10:07 pm

Jim: “So observing the earliest peak blooming date is just 1 day earlier after 600 years, certainly doesn’t suggest a climate crisis.”

WR: Given the large urban heat island effect and the higher input of artificial light, about the same date proves that the rural temperatures of the present are still lower than 600 years ago. The present climate is colder.

Not taking into account all differences and just looking at the date (as mass media/science do): that is cherry-picking. This post + comments give a good rebuttal.

Wim Röst
March 30, 2021 2:39 pm

Willis: “and I went and grabbed my Hi-Lift jack, threw a strap around what was left of the post, and yanked it out of the ground like a rotten tooth”

WR: Just tonight I was contemplating a bit about the role of convection – the upward movement of energy. Convection is not ‘cooling the surface’ in the way evaporation or conduction does. But convection is a process needed to get the surface energy at elevations from where it can be radiated to space and if it does not happen other forces develop. Finally one of those processes results in bringing surface energy (latent and sensible heat) upward to where it has to be.

In the case of the post, no ‘lift’ occurred. By ‘throwing a strap around what was left of the post and yanking it out’, the post’s lift became organized.

On the surface of the Earth the same happens. When latent and sensible heat stays below at the surface, at temperatures of 25-30 degrees Celsius over open oceans huge convective processes develop: your thunderstorms. If they cannot develop, for example because of the lack of surface wind like in a water cooker, the heating up continues until the huge forces of ‘created bubbles’ will transport the energy from the heating place below to elevations where energy can be released.

Nature always finds a way to have things happening, as you did. When lifting has to happen, it will happen. But new means sometimes are necessary. Like in nature you found your way.

Convection is enabling extra surface cooling by enabling the release of extra latent and extra sensible heat. In itself, convection is no item you can find back in energy balances or in models in the right way. But if convection is not present ‘other forces will develop’ or ‘other ways will be used’ by nature: your emergent phenomena.

Convection is a supporting process, necessary for the release of energy (spaceward radiation) at altitudes without water vapor. In calculations for ‘surface energy loss,’ the process is easily forgotten. But it is a fundamental process that should be well represented in the models and the Earth’s earth-atmosphere energy balances. Only then processes of ‘surface cooling’ can be well understood.

This is why your emergent phenomena deserve their place in the models. All have for specific circumstances a specific temperature at which they will happen.

Wim Röst
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
April 2, 2021 12:21 pm

WR: Indeed. “Regardless of forcing.” The most important words.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Wim Röst
March 30, 2021 3:23 pm

Wim, I read the entire documentation for an earlier model (NCAR v3?) prior to publishing Blowing Smoke in late 2014. None of these climate models can incorporate emergent phenomena like Tstorms. Their grid sizes are too big. Illustrated in guest post here ‘The Trouble with climate models’ a few years back.

March 30, 2021 2:53 pm

On page 10 of I note that:

The recent rise of temperatures is attributed, primarily to the warming associated with the urbanization of the Kyoto area (estimated to be of the order of 3°C), and secondarily with the general global climate warming of Japan.

This has been the long accepted view of Japanese researchers.

Joel O'Bryan
March 30, 2021 3:07 pm

Climate change is claimed by the collective (Left/Libtards/Greens/AlGore/JohnKerry/MoronsRus) to be inducing a global climate crisis.

Even if we simply accept uncritically at face value this claim by the CapitolWeatherMorons, is earlier blossoming cherry trees evidence of a climate crisis???

Last edited 1 year ago by Joel O’Bryan
ray g
March 30, 2021 3:58 pm

Just off track a bit,want to save the planet and eat red meat? Get rid of methane belching cattle and eat Kangaroo , they don’t fart and will be in plague proportions after the big wet

Alan M
Reply to  ray g
March 30, 2021 6:02 pm

On the subject of kangaroo, down-under a high-lift jack is commonly known as a “kangaroo jack”

Tom in Toronto
March 30, 2021 4:49 pm

“This is climate change” – maybe. But what’s wrong with earlier flowers? Why is it scary?

March 30, 2021 4:53 pm

“The first thing that came to my mind? “Population”. As a city’s population increases, the “urban heat island” effect causes the temperature inside the city limits to increase. And the more people in the city, the warmer than the surrounding countryside it usually becomes.”

I think your right about this factor, and as others have pointed out the factor of artificial light. Today we think of Japan in terms of high population density and mega cities. But this a very recent development in terms of Japan’s known history. Historically, Japan has been rural, without large cities at all. Where most cities are now there were originally just farming villages. This is due mostly to the geology and geography of Japan. It is mostly all mountains. The suitable ground to build cities is the same ground that traditionally was used for agriculture. Even as late as 1890 the population of Japan was about 90% rural. Today it is flipped. We only begin to see rapid urbanization during the late Meiji period. Kyoto was a cultural and religious center but in no way could be it described as urban until rather recently.

March 30, 2021 5:31 pm

OMG another hockey stick that proves the tipping point has pushed us from a crises into an emergency (or was it the other way round), we now only have 24hrs ’til the next proof.

Rick C
March 30, 2021 5:47 pm

I suspect that there are good records somewhere of annual maple sap run dates in Vermont, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ontario, etc. Since the sugaring season is highly dependent on temperature requiring freezing nights and above freezing days for several consecutive days it might show a trend or not. The peak sap run can occur any time from late Jan to March. It seems unlikely that urbanization would have an impact as sugaring is a rural industry. No idea how one would find such records though.

March 30, 2021 6:06 pm

Next time, do as I did, and borrow an electric jack hammer from the neighbor.

March 30, 2021 6:32 pm

Farm jack, railroad jack, or as you call it a Hi-Lift jack will get ‘er done! No real man should be without a farm jack, a 4wd, and a shotgun!

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
March 30, 2021 8:56 pm

Your data analysis is exceeded only by your writing!

Alastair Brickell
Reply to  eyesonu
March 30, 2021 9:45 pm

Yes, it’s called a ‘kangaroo jack’ in Australia which I think is the very best name.

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Alastair Brickell
March 31, 2021 4:15 pm

It’s a Jackall here in western canada

Charles Higley
March 30, 2021 6:42 pm

And, do not forget, that higher CO2 make plants more tolerant of both high and low temperatures. In the UK, they have noted earlier flowering times that highly correlate with increasing CO2, because the temperatures in the UK have not been rising in tandem.

Nicholas McGinley
March 30, 2021 6:43 pm

If you do not have a hi lift jack, an old wheel works fine too.

Alastair Brickell
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
March 30, 2021 9:48 pm

…as does wrapping a chain around a tractor tyre and moving forward ever so slightly.

However, let’s not forget every ‘real’ man needs a chain saw and a log splitter too.

Alastair Brickell
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
March 31, 2021 3:20 am

Unfortunately here in NZ, thanks to our socialist Prime Minister, gas is a four letter word. We have to heat our Stargazers B&B with wood, yet sadly this is becoming another four letter word in some other parts of our country!

March 30, 2021 7:41 pm

“sometimes it takes me a while, but I generally get there in the end.”

Willis tell me you did not put the new one in cement !!

McComber Boy
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
March 31, 2021 5:51 am

Hi Willis,

I’m going to try this on my new mailbox post.

We’ll see if it keeps the post from rotting off in the rainy environs of coastal Oregon.


Abolition Man
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
March 31, 2021 9:15 am

Have you ever tried Black Jack roofing compound? Did a lot of custom work for a client using locally milled rough cut Ponderosa Pine, and he swore by it for fence posts! I went through three sets of planer blades before moving on to another job!

Granum Salis
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
March 31, 2021 8:56 pm

This is my view on fence posts in coastal and interior BC;

As the farmers say, whether it’s in sand or clay, a red cedar fence-post lasts 15 years.
They rot at the ground-line and a few inches down. That’s where there’s water and oxygen.
Surface coatings are ineffective if they’re not toxic to bacteria.
Drainage below the post is irrelevant; in fact, if the ground remained saturated longer, oxygen would be depleted, aerobic bacteria would die and decay would be slower.

That doesn’t actually matter, since it’s rotting at ground level, anyways.

Tarpaper around the post will not slow rot but it might make it easier to extract the rotten post in the future.

However, the question then is will you be able to square the new post to the old concrete hole when you are 15 years older than you are now?

Wim Röst
Reply to  Granum Salis
April 1, 2021 12:34 am

In the Netherlands (the part below sea level) the possible problem of rot is common. Houses are built on piles often around 15 meters long to fund the house on the sand layers below the peat and clay. The piles need to remain below the water level to remain conserved. When pumps dry the land problems arise. Therefore water level is controlled well. But to avoid eventual problems the modern way of constructing is by driving the wooden piles deeper into the soil and putting around one o more meters of concrete piles on top of them: there where the moisture problem could play a role. On the concrete piles a concrete construction is made to build on the walls.
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Granum Salis
Reply to  Wim Röst
April 1, 2021 7:49 am

You prompted me to read more on this; Wow!

And they’ve been doing this for centuries.

Wim Röst
Reply to  Granum Salis
April 1, 2021 8:11 am

For me as a kid this was the ‘normal way’ of building a house. When I discovered that nearly everywhere else people were not driving 15-meter piles into the ground before constructing a house I was very surprised.

March 31, 2021 4:33 am

good post as always Willis
and chuckling re the post
have done the same myself
friend had a little poster on a wall
“think..there must be a harder way to do it”
I always laugh when i pick the hardest way first ..and then really think
worst post digout ever?
a steel post that someone had stuck a bolt through,right down low, so very well entrenched
that damned bolt really provided serious sticking power to stay in place,couldnt use a carjack cos it was a verandah post, woulda lifted the porch too

March 31, 2021 5:33 am

A other long term data record from Japan may also be of interest. It appeared in WUWT on April 27th 2016. lt reported a paper that did a study of the ice freeze dates on a Japanese lake since 1442. The post has a link to the paper, sadly the data paper does suffer with “adjustments to the data”.

March 31, 2021 4:32 pm

Car Guys use their engine hoist for jobs like that. Best $100 I spent at Western Auto, 30 years ago.

Ann Banisher
April 1, 2021 8:25 am

Admittedly I don’t have records that go back to the 1800s, but we have a real 800 tree cherry orchard in NW Montana. Been doing this since the 70s. I don’t know about flowering date, but harvest date used to be in mid to late July. In recent years it has been moving later and later to early Aug. Last year was about Aug 10.

April 4, 2021 1:21 pm

Vancouver BC used to have many Japanese Cherry trees. Perhaps fewer now as old trees do die.

April 4, 2021 1:37 pm

As for getting old posts out, just don’t think like a couple of high school classmates did.

Cleverly thought they could make nitroglycerine to remove stumps on a farm.

Snuck into the chemistry class room late one afternoon, and proceeded to mix some up in a glass beaker.

When it started to boil vigorously they ran for the teacher, fire department came. No explosion fortunately, I don’t know if the students knew how sensitive nitroglycerine can be to handling.

These days anti-terrorism forces might be after you. Police in Canada almost detected the Sikh terrorists who blew up Air India flights. They observed suspicious persons on Vancouver Island blowing up stumps in a logged area, the blast felt at their car a ways away behind trees. But since blasting stumps in farming and logging areas is expected, they did not query the blasters (perhaps also did not want to reveal that they were tailing them). A person in the area of Duncan BC made bombs inside large portable radios (‘ghetto blasters’ they are ironically called). He was convicted of deaths on an airport ramp in Tokyo (flight was delayed, baggage was being transferred) and of deaths by explosion of an airliner over the Atlantic. Forensic examination of the bits of the radio in Tokyo and tracing of sales of it led police to him. (Sometimes quantities of a product made are small, in that case only two sold in the Duncan area, and of a small truck windshield wiper arm in the Seattle area (a hit and run case, police and security of large employers then checked parking lots for the type of vehicle they identified from the pieces).)

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