NCCN Climate Monitoring
Importance / Issues
Meteorologic data are essential to understanding and interpreting ecosystem trends that will be detected from all aspects of the NCCN long-term monitoring program. They are important factors governing the activity of organisms and community composition. The atmosphere is critical to the cycling of elements, nutrients, and minerals through ecosystems, and delivers pollutants from regional and global sources. Information obtained from meteorologic monitoring will be useful to interpreting and understanding changes in species composition, community structure, water and soil chemistry, and related landscape processes.
- Monitoring Objectives
- Determine the parkwide spatial (climate zone, elevation, aspect), and temporal (monthly, seasonal, annual, decadal) trends in air temperature, precipitation (including snow, snow depth, and snow water equivalent (SWE)) , wind speed, wind direction, soil moisture, relative humidity and solar radiation in each Network park.
- Determine the parkwide trend in the annual and decadal extent of snowpack in MORA, NOCA and OLYM.
- Determine the parkwide spatial, and annual and decadal trend in lake ice-out in MORA, NOCA and OLYM (index lakes are the sites selected by the aquatic technical working group for monitoring long-term trends in montane lakes and ponds).
- Determine the seasonal, annual and decadal trend in UV radiation at one site in OLYM.
The potential for long-term changes in the global atmospheric environment to affect park resources is high given recent changes in glacial cover and the sensitivity of the region to climate change. Increased temperature and altered precipitation patterns, which are currently predicted for the next century as the result of increased greenhouse gases, would have significant effects on the distribution and abundance of terrestrial and aquatic biota, and ecosystem processes such as carbon cycling. Increased ultraviolet radiation could also affect the physiological function and mutagenic rates of some organisms. Ecosystem responses to climate and related hydrologic and landscape processes will be monitored through the vegetation, aquatic, marine, and, air quality, water quality, and glacier programs.
Protocol Development and Status
FY2005: compile existing protocols into NCCN protocol document;
FY2006: get NCCN protocol document peer reviewed
Status and Trends
Annual Report: Annual data summary which includes climate summaries and highlights on a park, network, and regional scale within the NCCN Network. Individual park climate station summaries of daily, monthly and annual data, comparing current-year conditions with historical trends.
Five Year Report: Analysis of patterns and trends in climate change at Network and Park scale; summary statistics
Biologist - Mount Rainier National Park
Not available at this time.