Spring is coming early to the western slope of Colorado's Rocky Mountains, providing continuing signs of a warming world, according to a conservation biologist.
"I'm anticipating there'll be some flowering again in April this year, which is something that never used to happen," said David Inouye, a professor at the University of Maryland in College Park.
This will be Inouye's 37th season at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory (RMBL) in Gothic, outside the resort town of Crested Butte.
Dozens of scientists make the annual trek to a meadow at RMBL about 9,500 feet (2,900 meters) above sea level to study everything from wildflowers to marmots.
Many of the studies indicate a warming planet.
In addition to the early flowers, robins return earlier from their wintering grounds, and marmots, chipmunks, and ground squirrels emerge earlier from hibernation than they once did, the scientists say.
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