Category Archives: small scale studies v. big picture

New Data on Global Warming

Maybe we won’t be able to verify global warming by looking at the big picture. Perhaps small local studies by groups who have lived in and observed a specific ecosystem for years will end up being the best evidence for or against global warming. I’m not talking about anecdotal descriptions; I’m talking about data, recorded for decades.
In the Syracuse Post Standard on Sunday, May 6, 2012 I found an article with the title “NY lake’s freezing and thawing shows warming trend” by Mary Esch of The Associated Press which has been picked up by many other newspapers. She spoke with ecologist Colin Beier in Newcomb, NY. He is the lead author of a study that shows that the length of time Wolf Lake in the Adirondack High Peaks region is covered with ice each winter has declined by three weeks since 1975 (so says the label under the picture included with the article). Colin says that “Lake ice doesn’t lie. The process of ice formation and lake closure and opening is a straightforward physical process and people have kept records of it for decades.”
“The loss of ice cover may change a lake’s water chemistry,” he says, “and the types of algae and plankton which affect the rest of the food chain.”
The article goes on to say that, “Scientists have documented that places like the Adirondacks that are transition zones between temperate hardwood forests and cold-loving spruce-fir forests are especially sensitive to climate change.”
“In Vermont’s Green Mountains, a 2008 study found the transition zone between maple-beech forest and spruce-fir forest moved 400 feet up the mountain over 43 years, in sync with a 2-degree rise in the area’s mean annual temperature.”
Small localized studies like these may offer just the data we need to make a clear decision before or against global warming.

This is Colin Beier