Video: A Brief History of Phenology
Many cultures have traditional proverbs and sayings which attempt to forecast future weather and climate using phenological observations. For instance,
If oak's before ash, you're in for a splash;
If ash before oak, you're in for a soak.
But these indications are pretty unreliable, as an alternative version of the rhyme shows:
If the oak is out before the ash, 'Twill be a summer of wet and splash;
If the ash is out before the oak, 'Twill be a summer of fire and smoke.
While phenological observations may not let you predict the weather from one season to the next, they can be used to identify climate trends over decades and centuries.
In this video, Dr. Paul Alaback provides a brief history of phenology from the 12th century through today.