Phenology is the study of periodic plant and animal life cycle events and how these are influenced by seasonal and interannual variations in climate, as well as habitat factors (such as elevation). The word is derived from the Greekφαίνω (phainō), “to show, to bring to light, make to appear” + λόγος (logos), amongst others “study, discourse, reasoning” and indicates that phenology has been principally concerned with the dates of first occurrence of biological events in their annual cycle. Examples include the date of emergence of leaves and flowers, the first flight of butterflies and the first appearance of migratory birds, the date of leaf colouring and fall in deciduous trees, the dates of egg-laying of birds and amphibia, or the timing of the developmental cycles of temperate-zone honey bee colonies. In the scientific literature on ecology, the term is used more generally to indicate the time frame for any seasonal biological phenomena, including the dates of last appearance (e.g., the seasonal phenology of a species may be from April through September).
Because many such phenomena are very sensitive to small variations in climate, especially to temperature, phenological records can be a useful proxy for temperature in historical climatology, especially in the study of climate changeand global warming. For example, viticultural records of grape harvests in Europe have been used to reconstruct a record of summer growing season temperatures going back more than 500 years. In addition to providing a longer historical baseline than instrumental measurements, phenological observations provide high temporal resolution of ongoing changes related to global warming.
Phenology refers to the timing and seasonality of events in the life cycles of other species such as fowering, migration, budding and seeding. There is a growing interest in the study of phenology in the context of the Anthropocene, the current geological era where humans and human technologies are the predominant force shaping environmental conditions.
The study of how the biological world times natural events is called phenology. Scientists now understand that plants and animals take their cues from their local climate. Climate (long-term weather patterns) is impacted by non-biological factors–temperature, precipitation and available sunlight. Species use the predictable yearly changes in the climate to determine when they start natural events such as breeding or flowering.
The three main non-biological factors that affect phenology are:
• Precipitation (rainfall, snowfall, etc.)