When it comes to winter in the North Country, brown is not beautiful. Climate change has brought sudden and extreme fluctuations in weather along with a dramatic decline in the amount of snowfall that blankets the ground. This is especially marked in the Northeast, where winter is warming faster than the national average. [Read more…] about The Effects of Our Decreasing Snow Cover
In her poem “It Sifts from Leaden Sieves,” Emily Dickinson lauds the sublime beauty of snow – gossamer flakes that garnish a forest, wispy grains that infiltrate nooks and crannies, and wind-sculpted rings of snow around fence posts.
Given that the poet lived in a time before cars and stayed in her bedroom for 20 years, she never had to shovel snow, trudge through it, or drive in it. One is less apt to admire “alabaster wool” when the plow wings a mountain of it onto the driveway you just shoveled. [Read more…] about Think Snow – Gardens and Forests Need It
In mid-winter 1988, I went contra-dancing at the Congregational Church in Lyme, New Hampshire. During intermission, I joined other dancers who stepped out of the overheated hall into a star-studded night alive with shimmering waves of color, from blue to pinkish-red. Westood in awe, while luminous curtains of light performed a pas-de-deux [a ballet dance duet] across the arch of the sky dome. [Read more…] about The Phenomenon of Winter Light
The following story about the historic snowstorm of 1836 was originally published in the New York Herald, January 11, 1836. “The Big Snow of 1836” on January 8–10th produced 30 to 40 inches of snowfall in interior New York, northern Pennsylvania, and western New England with the city of New York receiving two feet of snow, drifting to seven feet in some areas. This story was transcribed by Hudson River Maritime Museum volunteer researcher George A. Thompson and additionally edited and annotated by John Warren. [Read more…] about The Historic 1836 Snowstorm: ‘Beyond Anything In Our Time’
It’s deep in winter, and a nor’easter is dumping snow outside. In between the howling winds you hear a boom! Maybe a heap of snow fell from the roof, you think, or a giant icicle crashed from the eaves. A few minutes later, another boom pounds through the blizzard’s gales.
It’s closer this time, and it seems to resound from the sky. This booming may be a rare wintertime phenomenon: thundersnow. [Read more…] about Thundersnow: A Rare Type of Winter Storm
Our recent snowfall in Northern New York proved to be a most welcome weather event for both our region’s alpine skiing community and the multitude of varying hares that reside in there. [Read more…] about Snowshoes: Snowfall and the Varying Hare
“When British colonists arrived in New England in the early seventeenth century, they were welcomed by an increasingly extreme and unpredictable climate,” writes Tim Brinkhof in in JSTOR Daily.
“The summer of 1637 was so hot several people died, and John Winthrop, the Governor of Massachusetts Bay resorted to traveling at nighttime. The following spring, by contrast, was so cold that harvests failed. Worst of all was the winter of 1641-1642; in his journal, Winthrop noted that ‘the frost was so great and continual this winter that all the Bay was frozen over, so much and so long, as the like, by the Indians’ relation, had not been so these forty years…’ [Read more…] about The Little Ice Age Recorded in Landscape Paintings
When hiking in the backcountry, we should always set out with the goal of minimizing the impact of our travels. When hiking, skiing, or approaching a climb, this means aiming to travel on the most durable surface available. [Read more…] about What’s A Durable Hiking Surface in the Backcountry?
Many songbirds are nesting earlier in spring because of warmer temperatures brought about by climate change. But the shift brings another danger that is especially deadly for nestlings: greater exposure to temperature variability in the form of cold snaps and heat waves. [Read more…] about Study: Temperature Changes Reduce Bird Nesting Success
There are 234 species of owls all over the world. From tropical forests to deserts, even in the frigid Arctic, owls rule the night with specialized adaptations that make them keen hunters.
Their sight, hearing, and even the way they fly are specially tuned for their nocturnal lifestyle. Large, broad wings let them stay aloft at a slower, and therefore quieter, pace. Specialized feathers take soundproofing a step further. Comb like serrations on the leading edge of wing feathers and fringes on trailing edges reduce air turbulence and the noise they make as they fly. [Read more…] about The World of Owls