Global warming changed cherry blossom blooming date in D.C.

Last weekend, my friend and I went to Washington DC in order to see the National Cherry Blossoms Festival at Jefferson Memorial Park. Actually not all cherry blossom trees are in full bloom yet due to our long winter. Some of them are even just buds. It was also very cold walking around the Tidal Basin. However, according to the weather reports, the experts estimated that the cherry blossoms are set to hit peak bloom this weekend as the festival attract big crowds for its annual parade.

Photo by: Zhi Yang

The National Park Service says the trees are predicted to be in peak bloom tomorrow through Tuesday. They bloomed about the same time the past two years. NCBF’s website shows the current record for the latest full bloom period for cherry blossoms at National Memorial Park was in 1993 at the time the flowers were not fully bloomed until April 11.


Because of the global climate change, it was only three years ago the news from International Business Meteorologist Krissy Klinger said that cherry blossoms could be blooming during winter. So, the flowers were in bloom from March 18 to 26. According statics, the peak comes around April 4th every year usually. The chart above shows the peak bloom of each year from 1993 to 2011 and the below one shows the average temperatures at Washington D.C. from February to March which explain the relationship between the cherry blossom and weather. Klinger reports indicated that the not just the flowers, but also other plants, temperatures are the main driving factor behind the blooming period of cherry blossom, but extreme precipitation deficits can also exert an influence on the threes peak blossom.


Climate changing affects every country and its plants. For instance, when I was young in Beijing, we used to have new leaves and buds on the trees at the end of February or beginning of the March. During 1990s, spring in north part of China is much longer than now. We also had a traditional customs called “Taqing”, in which mean going out and watched new-bloomed flowers with your family. Now the spring is getting shorter and shorter due to the global warming. In 2012, the weather was still snowy on April 18 in Beijing. Then on the May 1 2012, the International Labor Day that we have a three-days public vacation, the temperature jumped into twenty-five centigrade directly. We had a spring less than two weeks in that year. Lots of flowers just bloomed shortly then faded away because the temperature is too high. The same thing also happens to Japan, which cherry blossom is the national flower in this country. The national parks with cherry blossom trees located in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Kyoto, Fukuoka are all delayed their cherry blossom festivals since 2008.


A seventy years old man and his grandson go to “Taqing” in Yuyuantan Park, Beijing.


Thich Nhat Hanh: “The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.” That is also can go back to the key concept of the class, in which I thought that we should pay attention and cherish our homeland before it became into ruins.

One thought on “Global warming changed cherry blossom blooming date in D.C.

  1. Interesting post, Zhi. Thank you for sharing not only statistics and facts from your expedition, but also your personal insights and reflections.