Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): John L. CampbellLindsey E. Rustad; Charles T. Driscoll; Ian Halm; Timothy J. Fahey; Habibollah Fakhraei; Peter M. Groffman; Gary J. Hawley; Wendy Leuenberger; Paul G. Schaberg
    Date: 2020
    Source: Journal of Visualized Experiments
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Northern Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (589.0 KB)


    Ice storms can have profound and lasting effects on the structure and function of forest ecosystems in regions that experience freezing conditions. Current models suggest that the frequency and intensity of ice storms could increase over the coming decades in response to changes in climate, heightening interest in understanding their impacts. Because of the stochastic nature of ice storms and difficulties in predicting when and where they will occur, most past investigations of the ecological effects of ice storms have been based on case studies following major storms. Since intense ice storms are exceedingly rare events it is impractical to study them by waiting for their natural occurrence. Here we present a novel alternative experimental approach, involving the simulation of glaze ice events on forest plots under field conditions. With this method, water is pumped from a stream or lake and sprayed above the forest canopy when air temperatures are below freezing. The water rains down and freezes upon contact with cold surfaces. As the ice accumulates on trees, the boles and branches bend and break; damage that can be quantified through comparisons with untreated reference stands. The experimental approach described is advantageous because it enables control over the timing and amount of ice applied. Creating ice storms of different frequency and intensity makes it possible to identify critical ecological thresholds necessary for predicting and preparing for ice storm impacts.

    Publication Notes

    • Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
    • Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat.
    • During the capture process some typographical errors may occur.
    • Please contact Sharon Hobrla, if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Campbell, John L.; Rustad, Lindsey E.; Driscoll, Charles T.; Halm, Ian; Fahey, Timothy J.; Fakhraei, Habibollah; Groffman, Peter M.; Hawley, Gary J.; Leuenberger, Wendy; Schaberg, Paul G. 2020. Simulating Impacts of Ice Storms on Forest Ecosystems. Journal of Visualized Experiments. 160: e61492. 15 p.


    Google Scholar

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page