Seasonal Climate Transitions in New England
There are important climate transitions, linked with the seasons at northern latitudes, which help us understand the links between land-surface, biosphere, atmosphere, clouds and radiation.
For continental climates at northern latitudes, there are important climate transitions, linked with the winter, spring, summer and fall seasons, which illustrate the links between land-surface, biosphere, atmosphere, clouds and radiation. Several processes that are important to climate change can be seen in these local seasonal climate transitions: water vapor feedback in all seasons, snow-ice albedo feedback in winter and evaporation-precipitation feedback in summer. Illustrations here from Vermont in northern New England suggest that, as the global climate system warms, the trends in the fall, winter and spring transitions will directly reflect the shrinking of the winter cold season.
The seasonal climate transitions (in winter, spring, summer and fall) at northern latitudes give remarkable insight into climate feedback processes and the coupling of the water cycle to vegetation. Through them the perceptive observer can relate their experience of the seasons to key climate change processes, such as water vapor feedback and snow-ice albedo feedback; and understand the distinct roles of the three phases of water (ice, liquid and vapor) in the surface energy balance. The illustrations here will be taken from Vermont in northern New England, but the discussion is relevant wherever there is a winter cold season with temperatures well below freezing, and a continental rather than a maritime climate. These seasonal climate transitions are sometimes obscured by the rapid changes of weather from week to week, but most years they are visible. Despite this, the underlying climate processes are generally not well understood, even by many atmospheric scientists and weather forecasters.