Spring forwards or fall backwards? Uni expert talks seasons in free lecture

University news

Monday 09 March 2015

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An expert in climate impacts and seasonal phenomena is giving a free talk at Coventry University on Tuesday 10th March as part of the professorial lecture series.

Professor Tim Sparks from Coventry University will talk about phenology – the study of the timing of natural events – and how our warming global climate is impacting the seasons.

The talk will illustrate some of the peculiar data that is collected in the study of phenology, the people who collect it and what that data tells us about changes in the seasons as a consequence of global warming.

A new collaborative study by Professor Sparks, the Woodland Trust and the British Science Association is currently asking members of the public to help answer the question ‘How fast does spring move?’ by recording the first sightings of five different species across the UK over the next three months.

The study – which will be the first of its kind in the UK for 70 years – will relate geographic location to springtime, allowing Professor Sparks to time the speed at which spring moves from the south west of England to the north of Scotland.

Last year research by Professor Sparks found that flower festivals in the UK are being forced forward almost a month because of early first blooming dates in spring, a phenomenon caused by increasingly warm temperatures in March and April.

Professor Sparks said:

The study of the seasons and how they’re changing provides a fascinating insight into the impact our warming global climate is having on nature, wildlife, and life in general on our planet. I hope the lecture will help to pique people’s interest in what is an exciting and significant field of science.


The hour-long lecture by Professor Sparks will take place at 4pm at the TechnoCentre on Coventry University’s Technology Park, and is free to attend.

For further press information please contact Mark Farnan, marketing and communications, Coventry University, on 024 7765 8245 or email mark.farnan@coventry.ac.uk