Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Less snowpack will harm ecosystem, study shows

Date:
February 28, 2014
Source:
Boston University College of Arts and Sciences
Summary:
A new study shows that the consequences of milder winters – a smaller snowpack leaving the ground to freeze harder and longer – can have a negative impact on trees and water quality of nearby aquatic ecosystems far into the warmer growing season. The research shows that soil freezing due to diminishing snowpack damages the roots of sugar maple trees and limits their ability to absorb essential nitrogen and other nutrients in the spring. This leads to greater run off of nitrogen into ground water and nearby streams, which could deteriorate water quality and trigger widespread harmful consequences to humans and the environment.

A new Boston University study shows that the consequences of milder winters -- a smaller snowpack leaving the ground to freeze harder and longer -- can have a negative impact on trees and water quality of nearby aquatic ecosystems far into the warmer growing season.

Related Articles


In a paper in the journal Global Change Biology, BU biology Prof. Pamela Templer and her co-authors show that soil freezing due to diminishing snowpack damages the roots of sugar maple trees and limits their ability to absorb essential nitrogen and other nutrients in the spring. This leads to greater run off of nitrogen into ground water and nearby streams, which could deteriorate water quality and trigger widespread harmful consequences to humans and the environment.

"Most people think that climate change means hot, sweltering summer months, but it affects the winter as well," said ecologist Templer, currently on fellowship at Harvard University, noting that winter snowpack has been shrinking over the past 50 years due to climate change and is likely to continue diminishing over time.

Templer and her colleagues discovered that a thick layer of snow acts as an insulating blanket. When snowpack was shoveled off sections of New Hampshire's Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest to simulate the effects of a warm winter, the soil was much colder -- a much as 10 degrees less -- than when it was when covered with deep snow. This means the ground could be frozen solid longer into the spring.

Templer is following up her winter research with a new National Science Foundation funded project that uses warming cables in the ground to determine the combined effects of warmer winters and summer on the trees.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Boston University College of Arts and Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. John L. Campbell, Anne M. Socci, Pamela H. Templer. Increased nitrogen leaching following soil freezing is due to decreased root uptake in a northern hardwood forest. Global Change Biology, 2014; DOI: 10.1111/gcb.12532

Cite This Page:

Boston University College of Arts and Sciences. "Less snowpack will harm ecosystem, study shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140228093112.htm>.
Boston University College of Arts and Sciences. (2014, February 28). Less snowpack will harm ecosystem, study shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140228093112.htm
Boston University College of Arts and Sciences. "Less snowpack will harm ecosystem, study shows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140228093112.htm (accessed February 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Rare Clouds Fill Grand Canyon

Raw: Rare Clouds Fill Grand Canyon

AP (Jan. 29, 2015) For the second time in two months, a rare weather phenomenon filled the Grand Canyon with thick clouds just below the rim on Wednesday. (Jan. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Senate Passes Bill for Keystone XL Pipeline

Senate Passes Bill for Keystone XL Pipeline

AP (Jan. 29, 2015) The Republican-controlled Senate has passed a bipartisan bill approving construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. (Jan. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
"Cloud Inversion" In Grand Canyon

"Cloud Inversion" In Grand Canyon

Reuters - US Online Video (Jan. 29, 2015) Time lapse video captures a blanket of clouds amassing in the Grand Canyon -- the result of a rare meteorological process called "cloud inversion." Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Researchers Say We Should Cut Back On Biofuels

Why Researchers Say We Should Cut Back On Biofuels

Newsy (Jan. 29, 2015) Biofuels aren&apos;t the best alternative to fossil fuels, according to a new report. In fact, they&apos;re quite a bad one. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins