Scientists are looking at how climate change might affect Wisconsin wildlife, especially in winter.
Most climate projection models show Wisconsin winters becoming warmer and shorter with more rain and less snow, with the exception of some big snowstorms. Michael Notaro, the associate director of the Center for Climatic Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, predicts that winter will be warmer by several degrees by mid-century, reducing the severity of the season.
Notaro said that may change things like when ducks migrate.
"They may not migrate south as early as they used to -- maybe by several weeks or even a couple months timing -- due to a decline in snow cover and a decline in extreme cold conditions," he said,
Notaro said less snow cover could help deer move around more easily and help keep them away from predators.
"If you have a very deep snowpack, it slows them down -- their feet get stuck in the snow," he said.
Notaro said other animals that count on a larger snowpack, like the snowshoe hare, might be more at risk.
He said he and other scientists are still looking at projections for lake-effect snow. It’s possible there could continue to be higher snow totals in the Lake Superior snowbelt, because less lake ice leads to more evaporation and then precipitation.