We analyzed long-term records of ice thickness on the Piscataquis River in central Maine and air temperature in Maine to determine whether there were temporal trends that were associated with climate warming. The trend in ice thickness was compared and correlated with regional time series of winter air temperature, heating degree days (HDD), date of river ice-out, seasonal center-of-volume date (SCVD) (date on which half of the stream runoff volume during the period 1 Jan. to 31 May has occurred), water temperature, and lake ice-out date. All of these variables except lake ice-out date showed significant temporal trends during the 20th century. Average ice thickness around 28 February decreased by about 23 cm from 1912 to 2001. Over the period 1900 to 1999, winter air temperature increased by 1.7??C and HDD decreased by about 7.5%. Final ice-out date on the Piscataquis River occurred earlier (advanced), by 0.21 days yr-1 over the period 1931 to 2002, and the SCVD advanced by 0.11 days yr-1 over the period 1903 to 2001. Ice thickness was significantly correlated (P-value < 0.01) with winter air temperature, HDD, river ice-out, and SCVD. These systematic temporal trends in multiple hydrologic indicator variables indicate a coherent response to climate forcing.
Additional publication details
Historical trend in river ice thickness and coherence in hydroclimatological trends in Maine