Sunday, April 02, 2006
Blooming cherry tree
Little is as important in the Japanese spring than knowing when the cherry trees will bloom. Last year's prediction was off by several days, leaving forecasters at the Meteorological Agency red faced. Stung by a storm of criticism, the agency has revised its forecasting model to predict when the delicate pink flowers, a national obsession, will emerge.
Global warming, it seems, is to blame. Until this year, the Agency based its prediction on data from the past 50 years but global warming is making those figures less trustworthy and the period has been narrowed to 30 years. The arrival of warmer weather prompts the blooming and Japanese follow the event intensely as it moves south to north over about a month. Media publish frequent updates. The traditional appeal of cherry blossom viewing is said to lie in its poignant reminder of the shortness of life, but for many people it is an excuse to celebrate hanami (cherry-viewing) parties. Planning these parties is a matter of prime importance, which is why accurate predictions are crucial.
Posted by Jeevan at 12:11 PM