National Park Service

Appalachian Highlands Network (APHN)

Weather & Climate Monitoring

Weather monitoring station at Big South Fork NRRA Weather monitoring station at Big South Fork NRRA

Resource Brief: APHN Weather & Climate Monitoring

APHN Weather and Climate Inventory Reports

The monitoring protocol and procedures for this topic are currently under development.

For more information contact: Brian Witcher

Affected Parks

  • Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area (BISO)
  • Blue Ridge Parkway (BLRI)
  • Obed Wild & Scenic River (OBRI)

Importance / Issues

Weather drives all ecological systems, both aquatic and terrestrial. In Appalachian Highlands Network parks, elevation variation and complex terrain strongly influence local meteorological patterns, affecting surface and groundwater regimes, species distribution patterns, pollutant concentrations, and many other factors that influence the natural resources of these parks. Because long-term weather data may separate the effects of climate from other disturbances in natural systems, the Network is planning to collect weather and climate data critical for interpreting trends in Vital Signs and other park monitoring projects.

Preliminary Monitoring Objectives

The primary objectives of this long-term monitoring effort are to periodically summarize data from several key weather stations within each park, and to track changes in weather station characteristics. An annual report will be produced describing major trends as well as deviations from averages and extreme weather events. This document will provide a ready reference for Network and park staff to use in conjunction with other monitoring data.

Specific monitoring objectives are:

  1. To maintain accurate weather station locations and data for analysis with Vital Signs and other park monitoring and research.
  2. To graph and analyze maximum/minimum and average temperature, wind speed, and precipitation for the recent year in comparison to past years.
  3. To report on drastic or unusual events, such as storms, droughts, and floods.
  4. To make weather summaries and station data widely available on Network and Park websites.

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Methods

The reporting will come from representative weather stations geographically dispersed and located near long-term monitoring stations in the parks. We will use automated data posted to the National Weather Service and COOP web sites. The data will be imported into statistical software for summary and analysis. Annual reports will be produced once meteorological data for the preceding year becomes available.

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Last Updated: December 30, 2016 Contact Webmaster