TV coverage of cycling races can help document the effects of climate change

TV coverage of cycling races can help document the effects of climate change

Tour of Flanders archive footage screengrab. Credit: Flanders Classics

Analysing almost 4 a long time of archive footage from the Tour of Flanders, researchers from Ghent University have been in a position to detect climate change impacts on timber. Their findings have been printed at the moment in the journal Methods in Ecology and Evolution.


Focusing on timber and shrubs rising round recognisable climbs and different ‘landmarks’ alongside the route of this main annual street cycling race in Belgium, the crew checked out from 1981 to 2016 obtained by Flemish broadcaster VRT. They visually estimated what number of leaves and flowers have been current on the day of the course (often in early April) and linked their scores to climate information.

The ecologists discovered that the timber had superior the timing of leafing and flowering in response to current temperature modifications. Before 1990, nearly no timber had grown leaves at the time of the spring race. After that yr, increasingly timber seen in the tv footage—specifically magnolia, hawthorn, hornbeam and birch timber—have been already in full leaf.

These shifts have been most strongly associated to hotter common temperatures in the space, which have elevated by 1.5°C since 1980.

“Early-leafing timber can be excellent news for some as they develop sooner and produce extra wooden”, says Prof. Pieter De Frenne from Ghent University, lead writer of this examine. “However, their leaves also cast shadows. When trees flush earlier in the year, they shadow for a longer period of time, affecting other animals and plants, and even whole ecosystems.”

“Some of the flowers growing under these trees may not be able to receive enough sunlight to bloom. As a result, insects can go without nectar and may struggle to find enough spots to sunbathe”, he provides.

Phenology—the examine of pure phenomena that recur periodically equivalent to leafing and flowering—is generally primarily based on long-term observations and repeat pictures, with information typically being biased in the direction of frequent species or geographical areas. In this examine, archive footage allowed the researchers to make use of beforehand unexploited information of twelve tree species in the Flanders area with the intention to construct long-term datasets of phenological responses.

“Our method could also be used to collect data on other aspects important for ecological or evolutionary research, such as tree health, water levels in rivers and lakes, and the spread of invasive species. Only by compiling data from the past will we be able to predict the future effects of climate change on species and ecosystems”, De Frenne feedback.

Television footage of cycling races lends itself effectively to analysis as these have comparatively mounted routes and are organised round the globe, offering a chance to review a various vary of species and places which are at the moment understudied.

De Frenne factors out that researchers might additionally take benefit of video materials from different annual sports activities occasions equivalent to marathons, golf tournaments and rally races, and even information coverage that includes open-air concert events or iconic landmarks surrounded by .


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More data:
Pieter De Frenne, Lisa Van Langenhove, Alain Vandriessche, Cedric Bertrand, Kris Verheyen, and Pieter Vangansbeke (2018) ‘Using archived tv video footage to quantify phenology responses to climate change’ Methods in Ecology and Evolution (2018). DOI: 10.1111/2041-210X.13024

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