Réf. Menzel & al 2006 - A

Référence bibliographique complète

MENZEL, A., SPARKS, T.H., ESTRELLA, N., KOCH, E., AASA, A., AHAS, R., ALM-KÜBLER, K., BISSOLLI, P., BRASLAVSKÁ, O., BRIEDE, A., CHMIELEWSKI, F.M., CREPINSEK, Z., CURNEL, Y., DAHL, A., DEFILA, C., DONNELLY, A., FILELLA, Y., JATCZAK, K., MÅGE, F., MESTRE, A., NORDLI, Ø., PEÑUELAS, J., PIRINEN, P., REMIŠOVÁ, V., SCHEIFINGER, H., STRIZ, M., SUSNIK, A., VAN VLIET, A.J.H., WIELGOLASKI, F-E., ZACH, S., ZUST, A. 2006. European phenological response to climate change matches the warming pattern. Global Change Biology, Vol. 12-10, 1969–1976. [PDF]

Abstract: Global climate change impacts can already be tracked in many physical and biological systems; in particular, terrestrial ecosystems provide a consistent picture of observed changes. One of the preferred indicators is phenology, the science of natural recurring events, as their recorded dates provide a high-temporal resolution of ongoing changes. Thus, numerous analyses have demonstrated an earlier onset of spring events for mid and higher latitudes and a lengthening of the growing season. However, published single-site or single-species studies are particularly open to suspicion of being biased towards predominantly reporting climate change-induced impacts. No comprehensive study or meta-analysis has so far examined the possible lack of evidence for changes or shifts at sites where no temperature change is observed. We used an enormous systematic phenological network data set of more than 125 000 observational series of 542 plant and 19 animal species in 21 European countries (1971–2000). Our results showed that 78% of all leafing, flowering and fruiting records advanced (30% significantly) and only 3% were significantly delayed, whereas the signal of leaf colouring/fall is ambiguous. We conclude that previously published results of phenological changes were not biased by reporting or publication predisposition: the average advance of spring/summer was 2.5 days decade−1 in Europe. Our analysis of 254 mean national time series undoubtedly demonstrates that species' phenology is responsive to temperature of the preceding months (mean advance of spring/summer by 2.5 days°C−1, delay of leaf colouring and fall by 1.0 day°C−1). The pattern of observed change in spring efficiently matches measured national warming across 19 European countries (correlation coefficient r=−0.69, P<0.001).


Climate change - Europe - Growing season - Meta analysis - Phenology - Season - Temperature response - Trend


Organismes / Contact


(1) - Paramètre(s) atmosphérique(s) modifié(s)

(2) - Elément(s) du milieu impacté(s)

(3) - Type(s) d'aléa impacté(s)

(3) - Sous-type(s) d'aléa


Vegetation (phenology)




Pays / Zone

Massif / Secteur

Site(s) d'étude



Période(s) d'observation








(1) - Modifications des paramètres atmosphériques










Informations complémentaires (données utilisées, méthode, scénarios, etc.)



(2) - Effets du changement climatique sur le milieu naturel




The authors found that phenological changes were a clear reaction to temperature. When analysing all correlation coefficients of 254 mean national records with temperature, most phases correlated significantly with mean monthly temperatures of the month of onset and the wo preceding months. For 19% of the phenophases the highest correlation was with the month of onset, 63% with preceding month and 18% with 2 months earlier. (…) For spring and summer, and most of the autumn fruit ripening phases, the mean correlation coefficient was negative. Thus, higher temperatures were related to earlier onset dates. Themean value for flowering (r = -0:69) and other spring phases, such as leaf unfolding and budburst of wild plants (r = -0:69), shooting and closure of the stands (r = -0:62) as well as ear formation (r = -0:55) of agricultural crops displayed quite similar temperature sensitivity. (…)Fruit ripening of agricultural plants was more closely related to temperature (r = -0:57) than wild plants (r = -0:29). Delayed leaf colouring was associated with higher temperatures (r =  +0:33); only in eastern Europe (Russia-Belarus, Russia-Ukraine and Czech Republic) did warming result in earlier leaf colouring. There was a clear dependence of the temperature sensitivity on mean timing as earlier phases and very late phases had the highest correlation, negative and positive, respectively, with temperature.

The temperature response was assessed by the slope of linear regression of mean date on mean temperature of the month before onset. Spring and summer phases advanced by up to 4.6 days °C-1warming (two outliers in summer are related to agricultural phases in Germany) and autumn leaf colouring was delayed by up to 2.4 days °C-1. Overall, mean onset dates influenced the temperature response, the mean for autumn phases (+0.98 days °C-1) did differ significantly from the other three groups’ means (-2.10, -2.52 and -2.18 days °C-1).






Sensibilité du milieu à des paramètres climatiques

Informations complémentaires (données utilisées, méthode, scénarios, etc.)


The goal of the present study was an exhaustive Europe-wide analysis of all observed changes in phenology (plants/animals) in the period 1971–2000. Owing to the systematic (re-)analysis of all available records, including those from dense phenological networks, this meta-analysis allows, for the first time, a methodical review of absence of evidence and of possible reporting or publication bias. By incorporating monthly temperature series for countries, we were able also to quantify the species’ responsiveness to temperature.

An extremely abundant data set of trends in European phenological phases was systematically collected within the COST action 725 ‘Establishing a European phonological data platform for climatological applications’ comprising all phonological records digitally available at present. It included entire phenological networks of 11 countries (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Russia (provided by the 5FP project POSITIVE)), five specialists networks (Finland, Spain, the Netherlands, Norway, United Kingdom) and the network of the International Phenological Gardens in Europe, spreading over 14 countries including, in addition to countries named above, Croatia, Denmark, Greece, Ireland and Macedonia. In total, phenological trends of 542 plant species in 21 countries (125 628 time series) and 19 animal species in three countries (301 time series) were analysed. The phenophases of wild plants, fruit trees and agricultural crops were assigned to a BBCH (Biologische Bundesanstalt, Bundessortenamt and CHemical Industry) code (Meier, 1997) and grouped either by BBCH code or BBCH subgroups (principal growth stages). If applicable, agricultural and natural phases were treated separately.

Annual mean onset dates for nine countries (Austria, Belarus/northern Russia, Estonia, Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Slovenia, Switzerland, Ukraine/southern Russia), comprising 254 records (phenophases x countries) of 10+ years, however, mostly covering the total period 1951–1999, were available for the quantitative assessment of temperature responses. Annual, monthly and seasonal temperature means for all European countries (1901–2000) were used from the Tyndall Centre (Mitchell et al., 2002, 2004). (…)


(3) - Effets du changement climatique sur l'aléa










Paramètre de l'aléa

Sensibilité des paramètres de l'aléa à des paramètres climatiques

Informations complémentaires (données utilisées, méthode, scénarios, etc.)





(4) - Remarques générales



(5) - Syntèses et préconisations


Références citées :

Meier U (1997) BBCH-Monograph. Growth stages of plants – Entwicklungsstadien von Pflanzen – Estadios de las plantas – De´veloppement des Plantes. Blackwell Wissenschaftsverlag, Berlin und Wien.