Cherry blossoms bloom every spring and symbolize renewal, but each year the bloom date is earlier and earlier – with this year setting records.
The beautiful pink and white flowers used to bloom in April across Japan and Washington D.C., but over the years have inched into March.
In Japan, sakura (cherry blossom) season was roughly 11 days ahead of schedule this year. After an unusually warm spring, the Japanese city of Kyoto recorded its earliest bloom (March 26) in over 1,200 years.
Washington D.C. cherry blossoms usually reach full bloom around the first week of April, but this year peaked on March 28. National Park Services announces the estimated cherry blossom bloom dates every year but says, “Forecasting peak bloom is almost impossible more than 10 days in advance. The cherry trees’ blossom development is dependent on weather conditions. National Park Service horticulturists monitor bud development and report the status of the blossoms.”
National Mall NPS tweeted, “The cherry trees have reached peak bloom after temps well above average last week sped us through the final stages of the blossom cycle – just four days from stage 4 to peak.”
The cherry trees have reached peak bloom after temps well above average last week sped us through the final stages of the blossom cycle – just four days from stage 4 to peak. Check out the pink and white blossoms ringing the Tidal Basin on the #BloomCam at https://t.co/OfPYrLqS2O pic.twitter.com/WjNqr8ifF5
— National Mall NPS (@NationalMallNPS) March 28, 2021
Scientists believe the early bloom date is due to climate change.
“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.”
While the spectacular event usually only lasts a week or less, depending on the weather, it is something everyone should witness in person.
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Washington D.C. is not the only place to see cherry blossom trees in the United States. Macon, Georgia, is actually known as the ‘Cherry Blossom Capital of the World,’ with over 350,000 Yoshino cherry blossom trees.
Macon, Georgia has one of the world’s best cherry blossom festivals. With more than 90 times as many cherry trees as Washington D.C., you don’t want to miss this! 🌸 #VisitMacon >>https://t.co/5SiWRROmOA
— Visit Macon (@MaconGaSoul) March 25, 2021
There is also a “Cherry Blossom Walk” in Nashville and in many other states. While most of the festivals were canceled this year or made virtual due to the coronavirus, many people still ventured out to catch a glimpse of the blooming trees.
— Doug Mills (@dougmillsnyt) March 30, 2021