Adirondack Climate Research
Drought during the "Medieval Climate Anomaly"
An erosional gap in a peat core from Bloomingdale Bog represents a major drought roughly 700 years ago, during a relatively warm period. Most climate models anticipate WETTER conditions to accompany future warming in the North Country, but this record is apparently more consistent with the minority of models that instead link warming to drought.
Here are some of our latest findings regarding climate change in the North Country. Please contact me if you would like more information about these or any other topics.
Drought dropped Lake George by tens of feet
Another major drought struck the region 200-350 years ago, according to our sediment records. It was severe enough to drop the level of Lake George by tens of feet, though it does not appear in historical records. Because this drought struck during the cool "Little Ice Age," it may supports model projections of wetting in a warmer future. But when combined with the bog core data, it also suggests that precip may in fact be unpredictable.
Planktonic diatoms and precipitation history
The relative abundance of planktonic diatoms in a core from Wolf Lake (black line; sampled every quarter of a centimeter, or 1-4 years) appears to track total annual precipitation at the weather station in nearby Tupper Lake (red line). We would like to extend this record much farther back in time to cover the last 1000 years in order to test model projections against climate history.
For more information, please
"Climate history represents one of our most important sources of information about how a given region is likely to respond to warming in the future."
News from Adirondack Climate Research
Rainstorms are becoming more extreme
Whether or not you believe in human-driven climate change, local weather records reveal an undeniable trend during the last century: our local rainstorms are becoming more extreme. This record from Dannemora shows storms that dropped at least 2 inches in 24 hours. The higher the dot, the more rain that fell. Notice that the dots on the right side of the chart are higher, on average - this means that our local extremes are becoming MORE extreme over time. This is exactly what is expected from global warming. (not shown: the numbers from the super-wet 2011 year were - literally - OFF the chart)
North Country lakes are freezing later in the year
Freeze-up dates are coming later in the North Country, and have been responding more strongly to regional warming than spring ice-out dates. This is largely because autumn and early winter temperatures have been rising more significantly than spring temperatures here. This chart shows 2 centuries of freeze-up dates from Lake Champlain; the higher the blue line, the later the freeze-up (warmer seasons). Black asterisks mark years in which the main lake didn't freeze at all - notice how most of them cluster into the last few decades.
Native ground-dwelling bees (Colletes) are emerging 2 weeks earlier in Spring than they did when observations began in the early 1990s. During the extreme heat wave of March 2012, they emerged earlier than ever. Unfortunately, the plants that normally provide them with pollen and nectar did not. As a result, all of the buried egg-capsules that we have excavated since the breeding season were empty.
Spring warming is affecting local species