A Europe-wide study has provided “conclusive proof” that climate change is responsible for spring arriving earlier each year. Scientists from 17 countries have reviewed 125,000 reports involving 561 species. They have concluded that spring is beginning six to eight days earlier than 30 years ago.

Countries such as Spain which experienced the greatest increases in temperatures, have seen Spring start up to two weeks earlier. One of the report’s main authors, Tim Sparks, of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Cambridgeshire, UK, said the study showed that there could be problems for species adapted to rising temperatures.

“If you have species that are dependent on each other changing at different rates that could just break down the food web” said Sparks. “For example, caterpillars feed on oak trees, and birds feed on the caterpillars. Unless these species remain synchronised, there could be problems for any one or more of those elements of the food web.”