'City of Fallen Branches,' Buffalo NY USA, Breaks All-Time Record with Early Snow Storm
This is in memorial to the fallen and broken trees of Buffalo New York, USA, a community once known as the "City of Trees." Now, according to the Buffalo News:-- "Less than three weeks removed from summer's waning days, a thundering lake-effect snowstorm blitzed Buffalo Niagara on Thursday, knocking out power to more than 100,000 homes, felling large trees and creating havoc for travelers. ... Trees still carrying their autumn leaves became too heavy with snow and their branches crashed to the ground, damaging homes, cars and power lines". A report just heard on National Public Radio indicated that 'nearly every tree was damaged'. Great opportunity for denialists to offer 'So much for global warming?' type comments. But we hope they will at least consider that this is the earliest lake-effect snow ever for Buffalo and the region, certainly coming under the category of 'climatic extreme.' And climate extremes, more frequent and more intense storms, for example, are what climate change is all about.=== update below the foldThe deciduous trees native to Buffalo NY evolved to lose their leaves before the the full onslaught of winter. It is the presence of full leaf cover which made the impact of sticky snow so high. Assume we had no access to meteorological records: this occurance would still appear 'un-natural' in scope, using only the benchmark of climatically driven growth seasons as a reference point.
National media coverage of this Buffalo-area storm failed to convey this point (no surprise), in spite of the fact that it is essential to understanding the potential ecosystem response to climate change. The follow-on impacts could be more signficant than property loss. Examples: native species of encephalitis carrying mosquitoes live in the rain-water holding cavities that result from branches breaking at the main stem of a tree. Several years after a storm like this, an outbreak of encephalitis may result; and a string of early snow storms such as this could lead to devastation of urban tree stands and completely change the character of city parks and streets.