from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The scientific study of periodic biological phenomena, such as flowering, breeding, and migration, in relation to climatic conditions.
  • noun The timing of a periodic biological phenomenon in relation to climatic conditions.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun That branch of applied meteorology which treats of the influence of climate on the recurrence of the annual phenomena of animal and vegetable life.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Biol.) The science of the relations between climate and periodic biological phenomena, as the migrations and breeding of birds, the flowering and fruiting of plants, etc.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun biology The study of the effect of climate on periodic biological phenomena.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[pheno(menon) + –logy.]


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  • The study of the timing of recurring natural phenomena such as migrations or spring flowering. A formerly obscure science now important for detecting effects of climate change.

    April 9, 2008

  • "Phenology is the science of natural occurrences, yearly events like the first snow, the first blooming of hepatica and the arrival of the first whippoorwill. Keeping diaries of such occurrences was a hobby of counts and lords in Europe, and there are records in Kyoto, Japan, of the flowering of cherry blossom trees dating back 900 years. Among the most notable American phenological records were those kept by Thomas Jefferson at Monticello and Henry David Thoreau at Walden Pond."

    The New York Times, Weather History , by Anthony DePalma, September 15, 2008

    September 16, 2008

  • Interesting--thanks, John. This is big in birding, but I never knew it had a specific term to describe it.

    September 16, 2008

  • The changes are there for all to see

    That poets praise as trite policy.

    The seasons are rife

    With the cycles of life

    So whence comes the need of phenology?

    April 27, 2019