The timing of seasonal event in plants and animals, including leaf-out, flowering, fruit drop, migration, and molting, is termed phenology, and varies from year to year and from place to place. Decision makers and natural resource managers benefit from knowledge of when species will undergo seasonal changes. For example, fire ecology, invasive species dynamics, and human pollen allergies are seasonal processes that may be predicted from climate conditions. The USA National Phenology Network collects, stores and shares data on the timing of plant and animal life cycle events for over 1000 taxa across the United States. The National Phenology Database maintained by USA-NPN now has over 6.6 million records for plants and animals for the period 1954-2016. The National Coordinating Office of USA-NPN is developing a suite of standard data products to facilitate use and application by a diverse set of data users. A continuing legacy monitoring program, initiated in 1956, has provided the basis for the Spring Indices, predictive models of leafing and flowering for lilacs and honeysuckles based on accumulated temperature and high energy events.
The Spring Indices are national indicators of climate change impacts, in both the US Global Change Research Program and the Environmental Protection Agency frameworks. This poster describes new work using gridded climate data sources (including PRISM and National Digital Forecast Data) which has enabled the USA-NPN to produce continental, high resolution estimates of spring onset and accumulated growing degree days, shedding light on historical patterns of spring onset, comparing current spring conditions to long-term averages, and enabling new 6 day spring forecasts. These products are freely available via the USA-NPN visualization tool and via Geoserver. We will present the status and preliminary applications of these products, welcoming feedback from the community on development and future directions. We anticipate that these products will contribute to broad understanding of plant and animal phenology across scientific disciplines.