Yellow cedars are beautiful trees that can live to be more than a thousand years old, but something is now killing them by the millions, says scientist Paul Hennon at the Pacific Northwest Research Station in Alaska, on a recent national public radio show, Living on Earth. He’s devoted his entire career to finding out what’s killing them, and the answer is tied up in snow, or rather the lack of it — for snow can act as a relatively warm blanket, protecting the trees’ shallow roots from temperatures well below freezing. For yellow cedars, this is the difference between life and freezing to death. But the recent warming of the Arctic polar regions, however, means that many cedars are now left unprotected by snow during the winter, resulting in millions of them freezing to death. Conservation is now centered on higher elevation stands, where snow still protects them for now. Warming causing freezing deaths? Hennon says this is a good example of how climate change will produce unexpected results that are often complex and difficult to figure out.
Dying yellow cedars. Something is killing the majestic Yellow Cedars of southeastern Alaska and parts of British Columbia. Scientists have been baffled for decades but now they have an answer: global warming is causing these trees to freeze. Living On Earth http://www.loe.org/shows/segments.html?programID=12-P13-00007&segmentID=6