Your Maple Syrup Will Be Darker This Year and It's Likely Due to Climate Change

Source: Raffi Asdourian

Compared to previous years, the maple syrup that you typically drown your pancakes and waffles in might be darker this year due to the changing climate. Earlier this month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that a strong El Niño contributed to a winter that was 4.6 degrees higher than the 20th century's average temperature. This climate fluctuation has affected not only the period in which syrup producers are able to siphon sap from trees, but also the resulting product: a darker syrup more suitable for baking, instead of the lighter one you use as a condiment on your breakfast or in drinks.


Source: Giphy

George Cook, a maple and farm safety specialist from the University of Vermont Farm Extension, told Motherboard that many syrup makers are concerned. "They're obviously looking at what's happening globally and recognizing that if the trend of the northern part of [North America] continues so that it's getting warmer, the range of the land that is best for the growth of sugar maple trees is going to move north," Cook said. "If you don't have those freezing nights and thawing days for a period of four to six weeks or so the sap is not going to run. And if you don't get the weather you don't get the sap. We're extremely dependent on the right weather." Vermont is one of the largest producers of maple syrup.

Cook also noted that climate change has affected the resulting product. This warm winter has produced darker syrups typically used for baking due to its stronger maple flavor.

Source: Giphy

In general, the differing climate fluctuations has affected both how and where maple syrup producers can siphon tree sap. Daniel Houle, a researcher from Quebec's Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks, told Motherboard that there is a distinction between regions where maple syrup production is possible and regions where maple trees simply grow. "Up north the climate is too cold for the maple trees to live, and in the south the trees may grow well but you don't have the weather that would allow you to collect the sap."

The ecological "footprint" of regions where maple syrup production is possible is shrinking due to climate change; according to Houle's research, production could decrease 15% by 2050, and 22% by 2090.

h/t Motherboard

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Andrew Leung

Andrew was an editorial fellow at Mic. He is based in New York and can be reached at aleungnyc@gmail.com

MORE FROM

Charlie Gard’s parents say they want to take their son home to die

The parents are returning to court to fight for their right to take their son home.

Vatican shuts off historic fountains in the midst of devastating drought

Officials say it's the first time they can recall ever shutting off the Vatican's fountains.

The last baby orca to be born at SeaWorld dies after serious health issues

Kyara was the last baby orca to be born into SeaWorld's controversial breeding program.

President Donald Trump turns Boy Scout Jamboree into campaign rally

The president discussed health care, Hillary Clinton, Obama, big yachts and more to 40,000 Boy Scouts and volunteers

This child kept HIV in remission for 8 years without drugs. Here’s what that really means.

More than eight years after his initial treatment, the child is still in remission.

Charlie Gard’s parents say they want to take their son home to die

The parents are returning to court to fight for their right to take their son home.

Vatican shuts off historic fountains in the midst of devastating drought

Officials say it's the first time they can recall ever shutting off the Vatican's fountains.

The last baby orca to be born at SeaWorld dies after serious health issues

Kyara was the last baby orca to be born into SeaWorld's controversial breeding program.

President Donald Trump turns Boy Scout Jamboree into campaign rally

The president discussed health care, Hillary Clinton, Obama, big yachts and more to 40,000 Boy Scouts and volunteers

This child kept HIV in remission for 8 years without drugs. Here’s what that really means.

More than eight years after his initial treatment, the child is still in remission.