citizen science

One of the clearest measures of global warming is right outside your window: earlier blooming and budding plants in the spring.

Project BudBurst scientists are getting reports that common lilac, red maples, Virginia bluebells and other popular ornamental plants on their “10 Most Wanted” list are waking up earlier in the spring than ever — a sign that the climate is heating up.

We’re seeing that the data show that spring is advancing, said Sandra Henderson of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), which oversees Project BudBurst.

All the instructions for participating, including a geolocator so participants can report their whereabouts, are available at the project website.

An application that allows citizen scientists to report their findings on their cell phones may soon be available, Henderson said. UCLA is working on a mobile phone application to do it, Henderson said.

The application will allow users to quickly send in photos documenting what a plant in a particular location is doing on a given day.

Project BudBurst and other citizen science campaigns is actually empowering, said Henderson. “We want people to be outside in a meaningful way.”

Heat Is Online, 22 Apr 2010 –