When it comes to global warming and climate change as a consequence of this first one, what always comes to mind first are the heat, the drought, the hurricane. But according to the latest U.S. National Climate Assessment, released on Nov. 23, 2018, winters have warmed three times faster than summers in the Northeast in recent years. These changes also have significant and profound effects. Historically, about 50% of the northern hemisphere has had snow during the winter. Now warmer temperatures are reducing the depth and duration of winter snow cover. Although winter seems to be a sleep time for organisms and plants, but scientifically, snow cover is an important regulator of the health of the ecosystems, forests and organisms that live in them. Scientific research and field warfare over the past decades has shown that less snow cover over the winter impairs the health and ability of trees to filter air and water. This actually means that with further warming and less snow cover during winter, causing large declines in tree growth and forest carbon storage.
When winter encroaches with temperatures often dipping well below freezing, every species needs insulation to cope. Tree roots and soil organisms like insects rely on deep snow pack for protection from cold – a literal blanket of snow. Even in sub-zero temperatures, if snow is sufficiently deep, soils can remain unfrozen. Imagine if the snow pack continued to decline due to warmer winters. Research conducted scientists indicates that if this trend continues, it will increase the likelihood of soil freeze-thaw cycles, with harmful effects on forest health.