The eighth Adirondack Youth Climate Summit is taking place November 3rd and 4th at The Wild Center in Tupper Lake. Over 25,000 students are represented by the 250 participants from 30 high schools, colleges and universities across the region. The program has created a White House Champion of Change and sent student leaders to the United Nations and COP 21 in Paris. » Continue Reading.
Posts Tagged ‘Climate Change’
The Town of Jay, Ausable River Association, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Adirondack Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, and NYS Department of State are restoring an upstream portion of Otis Brook, a tributary of the Ausable River’s East Branch.
The partners are replacing an undersized, 30-inch pipe culvert under Jay Mountain Road – a frequent source of flooding that requires repeated maintenance by the town highway department – with a 17-foot wide aluminum arch culvert designed and sized specifically for the site. The new culvert will allow Otis Brook, its population of native brook trout, and other wildlife to move unimpeded under the road. » Continue Reading.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has issued a drought watch for the entire state of New York following consultation with the State Drought Management Task Force and Federal partner agencies.
A watch is the first of four levels of state drought advisories (“watch,” “warning,” “emergency” and “disaster”). There are no statewide mandatory water use restrictions in place under a drought watch. However, local public water suppliers may require such measures depending upon local needs and conditions. The last drought watch in New York State was issued in 2002.
The drought watch is triggered by the State Drought Index, which reflects precipitation levels, reservoir/lake levels, and stream flow and groundwater levels in nine designated drought regions throughout New York. Each of these indicators is assigned a weighted value based on its significance to various uses in a region. » Continue Reading.
Ever find yourself pining away for the “good old days” when things were simpler, a time when 911 was just a number, and no one was allergic to peanut butter? Maybe you like the era of Beatles concerts, big collars and even bigger hair, or you dream of living in the horse-and- buggy days.
Personally, I get misty-eyed when I think back to the early 2000s. It’s not that I can’t remember further back—my memory isn’t quite that bad yet. But those were the good old days when you could grow tomatoes free of blight, and pine needles were green. (Have you taken a look at the eastern white pines and Scots pines this summer? I’m pretty sure yellow and brown are not their normal colors.) Plant diseases have really blossomed recently. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Park is already experiencing the impacts of climate change. Lakes and ponds are covered with ice for fewer days than they were a century ago; spring is starting earlier in the lower elevations; and storms are becoming more intense and frequent.
Scientists predict that in the future the Park will be a much different place. Wildlife species that can’t adapt to the warmer weather are expected to move northward or to higher elevations. Buildings that remain in floodplains are expected to be more vulnerable to flooding. Plant communities, especially those on high summits and boreal lowlands, could change significantly or even disappear. » Continue Reading.
Snow-sport events are a staple of winter tourism in the Adirondacks, drawing participants and spectators into small villages where they eat in restaurants, stay in hotels, and spend money in stores. This winter, many events had to be canceled because of frequent thaws and a dearth of snow.
Among the canceled events were the Lake Placid Loppet, a cross-country-ski race, and a World Cup skiing competition in the Lake Placid region; the annual Adirondack Backcountry Ski Festival, sponsored by the Mountaineer in Keene Valley; and Dewey Mountain Days in Saranac Lake. Dangerous ice conditions led to the cancellation of ice-fishing contests around the Adirondack Park. » Continue Reading.
A few years ago, Paul Smith’s College scientist Curt Stager came across a rare find that he says helps tell the story of climate change in the Adirondacks: the journal of Bob Simon, a retired engineer and longtime resident of Cranberry Lake.
Simon, who died in 1991, kept a meticulous journal with entries for temperature, wind direction, barometric pressure, water level, ice cover, when loons arrived, and when thunderstorms occurred. He made entries twice a day, morning and night, for the last thirty-two years of his life. Stager received the journal from someone who found it in Simon’s former home, years after the man died. » Continue Reading.
March is normally the time of year, at least here in the North Country, when we suffer anguish over which season we wish it would be. I go through it every year, part of me wishing for spring and the other part holding out for more snow. I know there are people out there like me who still wish we had more opportunities for cross-country skiing. There is nothing sweeter (except maybe maple syrup) than a spring ski on a warm March day, with fresh powder, bright sun, and brilliant blue skies. Tree tops pinkish orange with buds ready to burst into new growth.
But this year without a winter is even worse! I feel so cheated. My friend, artist Valerie Patterson, communicates how I feel perfectly in her watercolor painting, “Global Warming”. A lot of us who live here do so because we embrace and enjoy outdoor recreation in all seasons of the year. I’m sure no reminders are needed about how sparse our snow was and how warm the temperatures averaged. My Adirondack Artists Guild colleague Burdette Parks announced the ice went out on Middle Saranac on St Patrick’s Day this year – the earliest he and his wife, Fran Yardley, can remember. They reported the water stayed open much later this winter as well. » Continue Reading.
The U.S. Supreme Court has issued an injunction that delays implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan’s greenhouse-gas regulations. EPA’s plan must wait until after a legal challenge in a lower court, as well as an expected appeal to the Supreme Court, are decided. These events are expected to take a year or more. » Continue Reading.
Climate change threatens not only the winter economy of the Adirondacks, but also the cultural identity of the region.
Lake Placid twice hosted the Winter Olympics, in 1932 and 1980, and continues to capitalize on its history, attracting a variety of winter-sports events such as the Winter Empire State Games and international skiing and sliding competitions.
The Adirondack Park has spawned a number of Olympic athletes. Drive through tiny Vermontville and you’ll see signs celebrating that it is home to Billy Demong, who won the gold medal for Nordic combined in 2010. » Continue Reading.
The most profitable months for the tourism-based businesses in the Adirondacks are without question July and August. This is when families take their summer vacations, the weather is warm, and the bugs are tolerable. But while summer is crucial for small businesses, a successful winter season can mean the difference between making money or not for the year.
Vinny McClelland, owner of the Mountaineer in Keene Valley, knows this as much as anyone. His business depends on customers who recreate in the outdoors. In winter, they include backcountry skiers, ice climbers, mountaineers, and snowshoers. If there is a shortage of snow or ice in the winter, chances are there will be a shortage of customers visiting the Adirondacks and his store.
Last night, the floodlights were on at my favorite skating lake. Several children wearing plastic skates and shiny helmets were gliding on the ice, shepherded by young parents. A father pulled a Nordic-looking sled with upturned runners, his bundled-up cargo insisting, “More!” each time he stopped. They were enjoying one of winter’s greatest gifts: the smooth, frozen surfaces of our northern lakes and ponds.
The gift is ephemeral. Some winters, our skates never leave the basement. Other years, the snow holds off and there’s black ice before Christmas. We skate as much as we can, knowing our days of clear ice are numbered. As winter progresses, rain may turn the surface to water — but the temperature plummets again and the resurfaced plane draws us back. » Continue Reading.
The 19th annual Bird Count is taking place worldwide February 12 through 15. Information gathered and reported online at birdcount.org will help scientists track changes in bird distribution, some of which may be traced to El Niño storms and the unusual weather patterns the Adirondacks have been seeing lately.
“The most recent big El Niño took place during the winter of 1997-98,” according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Marshall Iliff, a leader of the eBird program which collects worldwide bird counts year-round and also provides the backbone for the GBBC. “The GBBC was launched in February 1998 and was pretty small at first. This will be the first time we’ll have tens of thousands of people doing the count during a whopper El Niño.” » Continue Reading.
“Make me one with everything.” If you had to guess, you’d probably say that was a diner order, or a supplication to the Divine. This winter, I think someone whispered that line in Mother Nature’s ear, because even though it is not yet half over, she has already made us a winter with everything. It’s as if she glanced at her weather playlist and hit the buttons for unseasonable warmth, extreme cold, high winds, rain, sleet, ice, and snow, and then selected the “shuffle” function and walked away.
After each meteorological mood swing I have heard people comment how confused the weather makes them. You plant daffodil bulbs on Christmas, shovel heavy snow the next week, then need crampons a few days later because it rained and then suddenly froze. If you think it’s hard for us humans who can retreat into our posh shelters, imagine how the animals feel. » Continue Reading.
During a mild winter in our northern forests, there are those of us who cheer our lower heating bills and those who scan the forecast, hoping for cold and snow. In a classic El Niño year like this one, when we often get unseasonably mild weather well into February, there are winners and losers in the natural world, too.
El Niño refers to a natural warming of Pacific waters. This phenomenon occurs every three to seven years, when prevailing trade winds, which drive the direction and force of ocean currents, slow down. As a result, cold water from the depths doesn’t get mixed with surface water, the ocean’s surface temperature rises, and global weather patterns can be altered. This year’s strong El Niño is being complemented by a low pressure system in the far north – called the Arctic oscillation – that’s keeping polar air trapped around the North Pole. » Continue Reading.