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Phenology: Establishing a European Platform for Climatological Applications

Final Report of COST Action 725

Phenology looks at the timing of recurring biological events in animals and plants. It is an important tool for climate impact studies. The main objective of the COST Action 725 was to establish an European reference data set of phenological observations that could be used for climatological purposes, especially climate monitoring, and detection of change. The report also gives a brief historical overview of data control procedures and includes national reports from Austria, Germany, Norway, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland.

Phenology: Establishing a European Platform for Climatological Applications

In 2004, this Action started to establish a set of data that refers to phenological observations and can be used to monitor and detect changes in our climate. The research led to the discovery that spring is starting six to eight days earlier than 30 years ago. The study was unique in that the advance of spring has been linked to climate change.

The Action's additional objectives lay in the standardisation of techniques for:

  • Defining of species and phases, that should be observed in a standard manner
  • Developing recommendations for monitoring and collection procedures (methodologies, sampling density, frequency, etc.)
  • Selection criteria of data for further consideration
  • Quality control of observations
  • Commonly used formats of archiving and distribution of data
  • Mapping techniques of phenological information and other application methods
  • Increasing the knowledge concerning relations between climate and phenological events

Standard identifier: 978-1-4020-8562-8 doi:10.2831/10279

Source: Published by the Publications Office of the European Union 2009. Edited by E. Koch, A. Donelly, W.Lipa, A.Menzel and J. Nekovár.


  • Biosphere
  • Climatic effects
  • Effect
  • Impacts of climate change
  • Vegetation