Contosta, Casson, Garlick et al

Ecological Applications

Published date July 16, 2019

Northern forest winters have lost cold, snowy conditions that are important for ecosystems and human communities

  • States that we lack a synthetic understanding of how winter climate change may impact hydrological and biogeochemical processes and the social and economic activities they support.
  • Uses 100 years of meteorological observations across the northern forest region of the northeastern United States and eastern Canada to develop a suite of indicators that enable a cross‐cutting understanding of:
  • How winter temperatures and snow cover have been changing and
  • How these shifts may impact both ecosystems and surrounding human communities.
  • Shows that cold and snow covered conditions have generally decreased over the past 100 years.
  • Trends suggest positive outcomes for tree health as related to reduced fine root mortality and nutrient loss associated with winter frost but negative outcomes as related to the northward advancement and proliferation of forest insect pests.