This winter, when the National Weather Service reported that Champlain finally froze all the way across to Vermont on March 8, it was like hearing that a steamboat had crossed the lake: typical in the 19th century, improbable in the 21st. The lake ice officially “closed” in almost every year of the 1800s and the first half of the 1900s, but has done so only 11 times since 1990.
Loss of ice is one factor in the water temperatures in the lake, where the surface on average has warmed by 6.8 degrees Fahrenheit in August since 1964, according to the Lake Champlain Basin Program.
The double-crested cormorant made a miraculous recovery after the ban on DDT, a pesticide that had once imperiled the bird’s existence. But while conservationists hailed the return of birds such as the bald eagle, they became increasingly wary of the collateral success represented by the cormorant.
Some parts of the world, including much of North America, outpace the global average in large part because much of the planet is covered by water and it takes more energy to warm oceans than land. That explains how the Adirondacks can be so far ahead of global change.
Scientists are trying to understand how salmon are impacted by alewives, an invasive species that has become a main source of food for salmon, a keystone predator that eats smaller fish.