Jan 23, 2009

Climate and hydrological changes in the northeastern United States: recent trends and implications for forested and aquatic ecosystems

by
Thomas G. Huntington, Andrew D. Richardson, Kevin J. McGuire, Katharine Hayhoe
,
Canadian Journal of Forest Research
  • Reviews twentieth century and projected twenty-first century changes in climatic and hydrologic conditions in the northeastern United States and the implications of these changes for forest ecosystems
  • Finds climate warming and increases in precipitation and associated changes in snow and hydrologic regimes have been observed over the last century, with the most pronounced changes occurring since 1970
  • Finds trends in specific climatic and hydrologic variables differ in their responses spatially (e.g., coastal vs. inland) and temporally (e.g., spring vs. summer)
  • Finds trends can differ depending on the period of record analyzed, hinting at the role of decadal-scale climatic variation that is superimposed over the longer-term trend
  • Model predictions indicate that continued increases in temperature and precipitation across the northeastern United States can be expected over the next century
  • States that ongoing increases in growing season length (earlier spring and later autumn) will most likely increase evapotranspiration and frequency of drought
  • States that an increase in the frequency of drought will likely increase the risk of fire and negatively impact forest productivity, maple syrup production, and the intensity of autumn foliage coloration