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Int J Biometeorol. 2006 Sep;51(1):17-26.

The effects of climate change on the phenology of selected Estonian plant, bird and fish populations.

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Institute of Geography, University of Tartu, 46 Vanemuise St., Tartu, 51014, Estonia.


This paper summarises the trends of 943 phenological time-series of plants, fishes and birds gathered from 1948 to 1999 in Estonia. More than 80% of the studied phenological phases have advanced during springtime, whereas changes are smaller during summer and autumn. Significant values of plant and bird phases have advanced 5-20 days, and fish phases have advanced 10-30 days in the spring period. Estonia's average air temperature has become significantly warmer in spring, while at the same time a slight decrease in air temperature has been detected in autumn. The growing season has become significantly longer in the maritime climate area of Western Estonia. The investigated phenological and climate trends are related primarily to changes in the North Atlantic Oscillation Index (NAOI) during the winter months. Although the impact of the winter NAOI on the phases decreases towards summer, the trends of the investigated phases remain high. The trends of phenophases at the end of spring and the beginning of summer may be caused by the temperature inertia of the changing winter, changes in the radiation balance or the direct consequences of human impacts such as land use, heat islands or air pollution.

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