Study Regions New England

The six New England states plus adjoining New York City and Long Island comprise a region of about 175,000 km2. Topographic relief varies from coastal plains to mountains of 1000-m elevation (maximum 1900 m) to the west and north. The climate is temperate, with significant variation (especially in temperature) resulting from differences in elevation, latitude, and distance from the ocean. Major life zones include Northern Hardwoods-Spruce-Fir (northern New England), Transition Hardwoods (central New England), Central Hardwoods (southern New England), and Pitch Pine-Oak (Cape Cod and scattered sand plains) (Westveld 1956; Foster and Aber in press).

New England is affected by mature and late-stage Atlantic hurricanes that form at lower latitudes and approach from the south (figure 2.1a). Most hurricanes weaken by the time they reach New England, though an intensity of category 3 on the Saffir-Simpson scale (sustained wind speeds of 50-58 m/s) is not unusual. Because hurricanes derive most of their energy from warm ocean water, hurricanes that pass over inland areas to the south and west generally cause little wind damage in New England. Similarly, because the highest surface winds are normally located to the right of the storm track, storms that pass offshore to the east also tend to cause less wind damage. The greatest impacts result from hurricanes that travel northward over the warm waters of the Gulf Stream and pass directly over New England. Rapid forward motion helps to offset the effects of weakening as the storms come over land or over the cold waters of the Gulf of Maine (Smith 1946).

(a) New England

(a) New England

(b) Puerto Rico
Figure 2.1 Tracks of hurricanes that caused F3 damage on the Fujita scale. (a) New England, 1620-1997. Reprinted with permission from Ecological Monographs. (b) Puerto Rico, 1851-1997 (adapted from Boose et al. 2001, in press). Adapted and reprinted with permission from Ecology.

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Renewable Energy 101

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable energy is energy that is generated from sunlight, rain, tides, geothermal heat and wind. These sources are naturally and constantly replenished, which is why they are deemed as renewable. The usage of renewable energy sources is very important when considering the sustainability of the existing energy usage of the world. While there is currently an abundance of non-renewable energy sources, such as nuclear fuels, these energy sources are depleting. In addition to being a non-renewable supply, the non-renewable energy sources release emissions into the air, which has an adverse effect on the environment.

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