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Dublin: 4 °C Monday 27 January, 2020
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Met Éireann part of international study using birch trees to monitor climate change

The results could be used to better plan forestry in future.

Image: saaby via Flickr/Creative Commons

AN INTERNATIONAL STUDY involving Met Éireann is using birch trees to predict how changes in our climate will affect plants.

The study, published in the International Journal of Biometeorology, monitored in minute detail the timing of when the ‘bud burst’ occurs, when buds on the tree begin to ‘burst’ and the leaf appears.

Along with researchers in the United States, France, and Italy, scientists in Ireland are using a recently developed mathematical model that predicts the annual growth cycle of birch, known as DORMPHOT, combined with a model predicting a warming trend up until the year 2100

It found an ‘advancing trend’ in the timing of birch bud burst.

This would have a greater effect on the northwest of the country than anywhere else.

“These results could have implications for future forest planning, species distribution modelling, and the birch allergy season,” Met Éireann said.

There are more than a dozen gardens in Ireland capable of this kind of study, known as phenological gardens, with four of these recognised for international studies.

One of these is located at Met Éireann’s Valentia Observatory in Cahirciveen, Co. Kerry.

Read: Mary Robinson appointed UN climate change envoy >

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Nicky Ryan

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