March 15, 2007

Cherry Blossoms and Global Warming

Posted by: Karyn Gregory

Sakura is the Japanese name for cherry blossom trees, a popular landscape decoration here in Seattle. The trees on the University of Washington campus have begun to bloom, an annual event anticipated by many locally.

In their native country, millions of yen are poured into festivals and parties to watch the trees bloom and celebrate nature’s beauty. It’s a magnet for tourism and people plan their trips well in advance based on blooming predictions from the Japanese Meteorological Agency.

This year the Agency predicted that global warming would cause the trees to bloom a full 10 days earlier than in years past, setting a new record.

Unfortunately, these predictions were found to be false, made in error due to a computer bug in their system. Oops! The Agency has spent the past day apologizing for any inconvenience their inaccurate predictions may have caused. They now predict that the trees will bloom next Wednesday, March 21.

If you’re not heading off to Japan, there’s always the Seattle Cherry Blossom and Japanese Festival, planned for April 20-22, 2007. This year there will be a symposium on “Japanese Design Today” and a performance by Japanese heavy metal band BlesseDmain.

- Karyn