Climate change effects

We continue work on the hydrologic and biogeochemical effects of changing climate. There are several components to this work. First, we continue long-term measurements and experiments on climate change at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, NH. A focus of this research is on winter climate change, including effects on snowpack accumulation and belowground winter processes. Through a research proposal funded by NSF we are testing the hypothesis that climate change is driving the northern forest toward a condition of oligiotrophication (decreasing nutrient status).

I am also leading (with Julia Jones, Oregon State University) a cross site synthesis of climate changes effects for forest and freshwater, dryland, coastal and open marine ecosystems within the NSF-funded Long-term Ecological Research (LTER) network (Figure 1). This series of five papers will be published the journal BioScience this year.

A focus of current research is the linkages between air pollution and climate change. We conducted an analysis of changes in the supply of nitrogen and eutrophication of coastal waters for the coterminous U.S. driven by changes in population, air management and changing climate (Shih et al. 2022).

Figure 1. Rates of change from 1980 to 2020 in temperature based on Goddard Institute for Space Studies air and sea surface temperature anomalies (GISS) and moisture based on Standardized Precipitation-Evaporation Index (SPEI) for LTER sites. No SPEI data exist for marine sites. Controlling for temperature change, over the LTER period (1980 to 2020), some sites are becoming functionally wetter, while others are becoming functionally drier, based on the Standardized Precipitation-Evaporation Index (SPEI). Except for Artic sites (ARC, BLE, BNZ), the rate of warming increases with the degree of sites becoming functionally wetter.


Shih, J-S., C. T. Driscoll, D. Burtraw, H. Shen, R. A. Smith, A. Keyes, K. F. Lambert, Y. Chen and A. G. Russell. 2022. Energy Policy and Water Quality: An Integrated Air and Water Quality Modeling Approach, Science of the Total Environment. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.151593.