No, it's not the lyrics of a Hindi film song. The flowers are indeed changing colour. And it's not because of love but climate change.
Recent research suggests that due to the declining ozone and increasing global warming, flowers are changing their colours. This happens when plants increase their UV absorbing pigmentation, says the research. Published in the Current Biology journal, the study revealed that in flowering plants, UV exposure favors larger areas of UV-absorbing pigmentation on petals, which protects pollen from UV-damage.
Since pigmentation in plants also affects floral thermoregulation, the study suggests climate warming may additionally impact pigmentation also.
But US President Donald Trump does not believe in climate change. Trump, who in 2019 had infamously tweeted that he wanted "global warming back" after a particularly chilly winter in the Midwest, still doesn't seem to believe in things like climate crisis. Or science.
While the world knows about the POTUS's complete disdain for science (remember that time when he said trees just randomly explode sometimes to explain wildfires?), Trump also seems to think that climate change can just reverse itself. Human activity, over generations, have resulted in irreparable damage to the environment and global warming. But the POTUS apparently believes that "it will get cooler."
Nevertheless, researchers seem to be proving that it is, indeed, NOT getting cooler. Time for some science?
To find out the effects of climate change on flora, scientists used 1,238 herbarium specimens collected from 1941 to 2017 to test whether a change in UV floral pigmentation was associated with altered ozone and temperature in 42 species across three continents.
The petals were photographed using UV-sensitive cameras to observe changes in UV pigment, and scientists also looked at preserved specimens of flowers. When compared, the results showed that across locations, UV-pigmentation in flowers increased at a rate of 2% per year from 1941 to 2017. The researchers also mapped the changes of individual species to data on their local temperatures and ozone levels. The results varied depending on the flower's structure and the region it came from. For flowers with anthers enclosed within petals, pigmentation declined with increases in temperature.
The study says there is a rapid phenotypic response of floral pigmentation to human-made climate change which has shown that global warming may affect pollination through its impact on floral color, with repercussions for plants’ reproductive fitness.
Matthew Koski, a plant ecologist at Clemson University, who was not a part of this research explains, UV pigments are invisible to the human eye, but they attract pollinators and act as a sunscreen for plants. UV radiation can be harmful for a flower’s pollen. Hence, the more UV-absorbing pigment the petals contain, the less harmful radiation reaches sensitive cells.
But Trump does not believe in any of it. In Tuesday's Presidential debate with Democratic nominee Joe Biden, Trump doubled down on his decision to relax fuel-economy standards for cars and trucks, which will cause an increase in air pollution. He defended the move by claiming it will help sell more cars.
In other news, Greenland has lost more ice in the 21st century than it did in the last 12,000 years. Think about that while you watch him deny the climate crisis in the next debate.