Amgueddfa Blog: Spring Bulbs

Weather Warnings

Penny Tomkins, 25 January 2023

Hello bulb buddies,

What an interesting time to be studying and observing the weather! Most of you will have had frost and cold winds this last week. I've heard that many schools have had to close in January because of the effects of extreme weather conditions, such as ice and floods.  Even on days where schools were open, conditions in the school grounds may have meant you weren’t able to collect weather data.

It’s likely that you’ve heard people talking about weather warnings a lot recently. Weather warnings are released by the MET Office (the UK’s official weather service) and are colour coded (green, yellow, amber and red) to indicate how extreme the weather will be in different areas.

Green: weather is not expected to be extreme.

Yellow: possibility of extreme weather so you should be aware of it.

Amber (orange): strong chance of the weather effecting you in some way, so be prepared.

Red: extreme weather expected, plan ahead and follow the advice of the emergency services and local authorities.

The Met Office also use symbols to indicate what type of weather to expect. For example, the symbols to the right show (in order) a red warning for rain, green for wind, green for snow, amber for ice and green for fog. This means there will be heavy rain and that you should prepare for ice. Why not have a look at the Met Office website and see what the weather forecast is for where you live?

The Met Office warn us about bad weather so that we can prepare for it. This is because extreme weather (such as strong winds and ice) can cause difficulties and make it hard to travel. Roads and train lines can close, flights can be cancelled, and walking conditions can be dangerous.

What was the weather like where you live? If you weren’t able to collect weather records you can enter ‘no record’ on the online form, but please let me know in the comment section what the weather was like! You can also let me know how your plants are doing and whether they have begun to sprout!

Keep up the good work Bulb Buddies,

Professor Plant

Weather Records 2022

Penny Tomkins, 4 November 2022

Hi Bulb Buddies, 

 

hope that planting day went well and that you are enjoying documenting weather data for our investigation. 

I want to say a big thank you to you all for your hard work on planting day. Together we planted over 18 thousand bulbs across the UK! Your fantastic planting day photos show that you had a great time.  

 

Weather records started on 1 November. There is a resource on the website with more information on keeping weather records. I’ve attached this here in case you haven’t already seen it. This resource helps you to answer important questions, such as why rainfall and temperature readings are important to our investigation into the effects of climate on the flowering dates of spring bulbs.  

 

Use your Weather Chart to log the rainfall and temperature every day that you are in school. At the end of each week, log into your Spring Bulbs account on the Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales website to enter your weekly readings. You can also leave comments or ask questions for me to answer in my next Blog. 

 

Let me know how you get on and remember that you can share photos via email or Twitter. 

 

Keep up the good work Bulb Buddies, 

 

Professor Plant 

Planting Day 2022

Penny Tomkins, 20 October 2022

Hello Bulb Buddies,

 

Schools from across the UK will be planting their bulbs as close to 20 October as they can. 

 

Click here for activities and resources that will help you with this part of the project and with looking after your bulbs over the coming months. 

 

These resources will help you on planting day:

  • Adopt your Bulb (an overview of the care your bulbs will need)

  • Planting your Bulbs (guidelines for ensuring a fair experiment)

 

And these activities are fun to complete:

  • Bulb Adoption Certificate

  • Make Bulb Labels

 

Please read the resources as they contain important information. For example, do you know to label your pot so that you know which side the daffodil and crocus are planted?

 

Remember to take photos of your planting day to enter the Planting Day Competition. Do this by sharing your images on Twitter or via email. 

 

Keep an eye on Professor Plant's Twitter page to see how planting day goes for other schools.

 

Best of luck Bulb Buddies, let us know how you get on.

 

Professor Plant & Baby Bulb

Spring Bulbs for Schools Investigation Results 2021-22

Penny Tomkins, 1 July 2022

Hi Bulb Buddies,

I’ve had an interesting time compiling the end of year report for the Spring Bulbs for Schools Investigation. I’ve attached the reports on the right for you but let’s take a quick look at some of the highlights!

Remember that our weather readings are taken between November and March, meaning that records for each year include readings from the November and December of the previous year. For example, when the report talks about results for 2012 it’s referring to data taken from November 2011 to March 2012.

2022 saw slightly higher than average temperatures and the second warmest February of our investigation. The MET Office has stated that February 2022 was the fifth warmest on record based on measurements dating back to 1919.

 

The graph shows that 2022 was the fourth warmest period of our study.

2022 saw the lowest and highest average hours of sunshine of our investigation. The MET Office has stated that 2022 saw the dullest December since 1956! It also saw the sunniest January and second sunniest March based on records dating back to 1919.

 

2022 saw the second highest hours of sunshine of our investigation. There are 25 hours difference between the year that saw the highest average hours of sunshine (2012) and the year that saw the lowest (2016).

 

We can see from the chart that 2022 saw the lowest average rainfall of our investigation for November and January and the second lowest for March. In contrast, it saw the third highest rainfall for February. The MET Office has stated that February 2020 was the wettest on record with measurements dating back to 1862!

The bar chart shows that 2022 saw the lowest average rainfall of our investigation at 90mm while 2016 was the wettest year of the project with an average rainfall of 158mm.

Our results show that plants flowered earliest in Wales and latest in Scotland. Scotland was the coldest country and saw the least sun.

 

2022 saw both plants flower earlier than the overall average. It’s interesting to compare results from 2022 with the overall averages for the project. The table shows that 2022 saw above average temperatures and hours of sunshine and below average rainfall when compared to previous years.

 

The graph shows average hours of sunshine for the period November-March for Wales. We can see from the chart that Wales saw lower than average hours of sunlight for the period November 2001 to March 2022. It’s interesting to note that the years 2006 to 2012 all saw higher than average hours of sunshine and that since then only one year (2015) has seen above average hours of sunshine.

The difference between averages for Wales and averages for the UK highlights the regional variations that can occur. The MET Office have recently announced interesting regional variations in their latest climate reports. Climate is measured in 30-year periods, in line with guidelines from the World Meteorological Organisation. A comparison between the 1961-1990 and 1991-2020 periods has revealed an increase in temperature (+0.8°C), rainfall (+2.3%) and sunshine (+5.6%) for the UK.

It will be interesting to see what patterns will emerge from our results as our long term study continues. Thank you for your contribution to this year’s investigation and I hope that you will follow the progress of the 2022-23 investigation from September.

Great work Bulb Buddies,

Professor Plant

Shoots are appearing!

Penny Tomkins, 11 January 2022

Hi Bulb Buddies,

Thank you for sharing your weather data and photos! We’ve been posting ‘comment of the week’ on Twitter and I’ve shared these with you here.

I’ve enjoyed reading your comments and hearing your observations on the weather. It’s exciting to hear that some plants have started to grow! I’ve shared some of your comments below.

Remember to watch your plants closely over the coming weeks, to see how they develop. We only ask for height measurements on the website once the flowers have fully opened. But you could keep a record of your plant’s weekly growth for fun?

In the coming weeks we’ll be analysing the data entered so far to predict when our plants might flower! Please enter all the data you’ve collected so far to the website as soon as you can, to help ensure that our predictions are as accurate as possible.

If you’ve missed some days or you aren’t taking part in the project but would like to follow it with your school, the MET Office WOW website can be used to collect and share weather readings for your area.

Please share photos, drawings and information on actions you are taking around climate change with us through email and Twitter.

Keep up the good work Bulb Buddies,

Professor Plant

 

Your Comments:

Hendredenny Park Primary: Rain gauge fell over and thermometer broke. Prof Plant: I’m sorry to hear your thermometer is broken, do you have another you can use? If not let me know and I will send you a new one.

Glyngaer Primary School: Very wet and rainy this week.

Pil Primary School: There was a lot of rain at the beginning of the week and the temperature was very cold this week.

Stanford in the Vale Primary School: We have been having a lot more rain this week and has been colder.

Pil Primary School: The temperature was nearly the same all week. There wasn't much rain, only on Monday.

Darran Park Primary: It has been very cloudy this week. With a bit of misty rain.

Oaklands Primary: A wet week this week and a few more bulbs are peeping through the soil. Prof Plant: Fantastic Bulb Buddies, I’m glad to hear that your plants are growing.

Darran Park Primary: The weather has felt quite cold this week. We had more rain at the beginning of the week.

Our Lady of Peace Primary: My data entering elves are self-isolating!

Gavinburn Primary School: We have loved keeping weather records this term. It has been a mild Autumn with not a lot of rain. Merry Christmas Professor Plant.

Glyngaer Primary School: Not sure yet but we think we see a tiny bit of green in one of our pots. Looking forward to checking when we get back from Christmas holidays. Prof Plant: Fantastic Bulb Buddies, let me know if you were right!

Oaklands Primary: Quite a warm week this week. We’re hoping it’ll be colder for Christmas!!