David's lawn mower and global warming

BOGLILY Road in Kirkcaldy may seem like an unlikely laboratory for a study into the effects of global warming, but one green-fingered resident has unwittingly proved that climate change is making our lawns grow for longer.

David Grisenthwaite began keeping track of how many times he mowed his lawn back in 1984, and his records have recently been used by scientists to prove that grass is growing for an average of one month longer than it did 20 years ago.

Now Mr Grisenthwaite has been named as a co-author in a paper published by the Royal Meteorological Society's journal, and has found himself the subject of interviews in the national press and on radio.

This unlikely turn of events was the last thing on the 77-year-old's mind when he started his records more than 20 years ago.

"I didn't start doing it because I ever thought it would be significant," he said. "I suppose I started doing it because I am a creature of habit and I tend to keep notes on all sorts of peculiar things."

Mr Grisenthwaite's records first came to light when he answered a newspaper advert placed by the Woodland Trust, asking people about the rate at which their lawn grows.

From there, the information was handed over to scientists from the UK Phenology Network, where the importance of the data was made clear.

His records showed that in 2004 the first cut in spring was 13 days earlier than in 1984, and the last cut 17 days later.

"They graphed it all and the results were quite interesting," Mr Grisenthwaite said.

"They showed quite clearly that the growing season has extended compared to what it once was."

Thankfully for Mr Grisenthwaite, this doesn't mean he has to mow the lawn any more than he used to, just that the interval between the first and last cut of the season has been extended.

"I still cut the grass at the same frequency I always have, which is 31 times a year on average." he said.

"The grass needs to be cut today but I am just being lazy," he added. "My wife Elspeth is the keen gardener, I just do the labouring."