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Synoptic climate evidence of a late-twentieth century change to earlier spring ice-out on Maine Lakes, USA

  • Andrew W. EllisEmail author
  • Timothy R. Greene
Article

Abstract

Trend analysis of spring ice-out on eight lakes within the state of Maine of the northeastern USA reveals a change to earlier occurrence by 1 to 2 weeks over the period 1956–2015. Much of the trend occurred from the late 1970s through the 1980s, but a secondary trend toward earlier ice-out appears to have begun in the late 1990s. Synoptic climate data support local and hemispheric climate evidence of increasingly earlier ice-out, particularly during the earlier period of pronounced change. Local spring and winter maximum daily air temperatures increased while winter precipitation decreased; synoptic weather types of moderate temperature character increased in frequency, while polar types became less frequent; synoptic weather types became warmer in spring and winter, and in spring, warmer weather types became wetter, while cooler weather types became drier; and two key climate teleconnections, the Pacific-North American pattern and the El Niño/La Niña pattern, changed significantly toward a phase historically associated with earlier ice-out. While the results underscore the value in monitoring and study of lake ice as a climate proxy, they also demonstrate the value of synoptic climate data for filling the spatial gap between local and large-scale climate data in studies of lake ice phenology.

Notes

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyVirginia TechBlacksburgUSA

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