Search This Blog

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Today's New Word: Subnivium

Literally, "a place under the snow" as I analyze it:  -ium for "a place", sub- for "under", and -niv-  for "snow".

It is used in the following contexts:

Terra Daily

Decline in snow cover spells trouble for many plants, animals
by Staff Writers
Madison WI (SPX) May 10, 2013
For plants and animals forced to tough out harsh winter weather, the coverlet of snow that blankets the north country is a refuge, a stable beneath-the-snow habitat that gives essential respite from biting winds and subzero temperatures.

But in a warming world, winter and spring snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere is in decline, putting at risk many plants and animals that depend on the space beneath the snow to survive the blustery chill of winter...
"There are thresholds beyond which some organisms just won't be able to make a living," says Pauli. "The subnivium provides a stable environment, but it is also extremely delicate. Once that snow melts, things can change radically."
For example, plants exposed directly to cold temperatures and more frequent freeze-thaw cycles can suffer tissue damage both below and above ground, resulting in higher plant mortality, delayed flowering and reduced biomass.
Voles and shrews, two animals that thrive in networks of tunnels in the subnivium, would experience not only a loss of their snowy refuge, but also greater metabolic demands to cope with more frequent and severe exposure to the elements...
Climate hokum, no doubt.

By the way, here in Southeastern Michigan, the temperature is to fall to freezing tonight, May, 12, 2013.
Possible patchy frosts just after a hot week that thrust the plumules of growing things into the light.


No comments: