Report: Climate change means earlier start to spring

Posted October 14, 2015 1:00 p.m. EDT

Spring blooms in the WRAL Azalea Gardens

A report published Wednesday in a scientific journal suggests that climate change has shifted the seasons, spurring an earlier spring.

"The onset of spring plant growth has shifted earlier in the year over the past several decades due to rising global temperatures," the group of researchers wrote in Environment Research Letters.

While an earlier spring may be welcome to some, the researchers found that it brought the risk of damage to plants, vulnerable to a late hard freeze after they had begun to bloom.

"At many locations, projected future increases in global temperatures will likely result in earlier spring onset and fewer frost days overall," they wrote.

The report found the change in the start of spring varied by as many as 26 days, meaning parts of the country including North Carolina lost almost an entire month of winter.