If the falling temperature and mango flowering in various regions of Odisha since the third week of December are any indications, it will be an early spring in 2023.
Experts are of the view that unseasonal rainfall and a warmer-than-normal winter – two imprints of climate change – may be responsible for such anomalous flowering.
According to MD Subash Chandran, professor of ecology at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, the flowering of mango trees begins in southern Kerala around this time.
“This is owing to the fact that flowering requires warmth and humidity, which is readily available in Kerala during this period. From here the flowering spreads northward, and flowering happens last in northwest India,” he said.
The fruiting of mango trees also follows a similar south-to-north pattern, he added.
In the northern parts of the peninsular region such as Odisha, this is usually a dry period. So, flowering is early and highly unusual.
Flowering usually happens after the coldest period of the season is ending, heralding spring. This again shows that the period this year is warmer than usual for Odisha. “Warm temperatures, apart from unseasonal rainfall, can also induce flowering in mango trees,” said Chandran.
“Under the influence of climate shift, early and delayed flowering is a characteristic feature of mango,” said a research paper published in the journal Ecology Environment and Conservation in March 2016.
“Two of the most important factors determining the suitability of an area’s climate for mango are air temperature and rainfall. The sequence of phenological (plant growth) changes is either advanced or retarded with the rise and fall in temperature and the onset of wet and dry seasons,” according to the report.
Mango trees in various regions had shown unusual flowering characteristics in February this year as well. The flowering was intense, with some places reporting flowers and fruits sprouting together on some trees.
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