National Park Service

Gulf Coast Network (GULN)

Weather and Climate Monitoring

Horn Island severed after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 Horn Island severed after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 on Gulf Islands National Seashore.

GULN Climate Change Resource Brief

GULN Weather & Climate Inventory Reports

There are currently no other documents or reports concerning this topic.

Justifications/Issues being addressed

Weather and climate are key drivers of ecosystem structure and function. A long-term pattern in temperature and precipitation provide first-order constraints on potential ecosystem structure and is a potentially important correlative factor for every other vital sign, making it a high priority vital sign for the network. Therefore, the network will develop an effective climate-monitoring system to track climate changes and to aid parks in making management decisions relating to climate. In addition, the network will use weather data for correlative analysis with other vital signs such as water quality, vegetation, and amphibians to track the effects and functions of weather within these systems.

Parks Where Protocol will be Implemented

  • Big Thicket National Preserve (BITH)
  • Gulf Island National Seashore (GUIS)
  • Jean Lafitte
    National Historical Park and Preserve (JELA)
  • Natchez Trace Parkway (NATR)
  • Padre Island National Seashore (PAIS)
  • Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park (PAAL)
  • San Antonio Missions National Historical Park (SAAN)
  • Vicksburg National Military Park (VICK)

Specific Monitoring Questions and Objectives to be Addressed by the Protocol

  • Use data to monitor effects of weather and climate change on other network vital signs.
  • Complement other GULN monitoring data.

Basic Approach

Climate and weather monitoring will rely primarily on existing active climate monitoring network stations in and nearby GULN parks. If a given area or park unit lacks stations altogether, short-term stations to document correlations to other sites (or lack thereof), or new long-term stations may be added. Data from existing climate monitoring network stations will be analyzed for the GULN parks.

Existing Weather stations: A number of networks/agencies with existing protocols are operating weather stations in the GULN, including: NOAA-COOP, RAWS, HaleNet, and the NPS Gaseous Pollutant Network. Protocols for these networks have been reviewed to ensure that they conform to NPS standards and that data are comparable. This review was performed as part of a Task Agreement (J8R07050017) between WRCC and NPS.

Parameters measured: Not all parameters will be included at all monitoring stations, as station equipment varies depending on which climate monitoring program the station belongs to. COOP stations measure either temperature or precipitation or both. RAWS stations measure more variables, but do not all have the same set of sensors; many include sensors for soil moisture and soil temperature and fuel moisture. New stations that may be set up by the GULN (and do not belong to any of the existing climate monitoring programs) will measure at the very least air temperature, wind speed and direction, relative humidity, precipitation, total solar radiation, and barometric pressure.

Data management: All weather/climate station data for existing stations in the GULN area, including those in close proximity to GULN parks, will be downloaded from the Regional Climate Data Center on an as needed basis. The data are used to compliment other monitoring projects for the network.


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Last Updated: May 18, 2017 Contact Webmaster