National Park Service

Northeast Temperate Network (NETN)

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Climate change is a change in the statistical distribution of weather over periods of time that range from decades to millions of years. It can be a change in the average weather or a change in the distribution of weather events around an average (for example, greater or fewer extreme weather events). Climate change may be limited to a specific region, or may occur across the whole Earth. It can be caused by recurring, often cyclical climate patterns such as El Niño-Southern Oscillation, or come in the form of more singular events such as the Dust Bowl. In recent usage, especially in the context of environmental policy, climate change usually refers to changes in modern climate. It may be qualified as anthropogenic climate change, more generally known as "global warming" or "anthropogenic global warming".

Importance and Issues

Climate is a key driver of natural systems that affects system structure, composition, and function. Climate data can provide a background explanation for changes or variation in other vital signs. Measures of climate such as precipitation and temperature are critical to understanding the ecological condition of aquatic and terrestrial resources and biota (Hynes 1975, Poff 1997). Monitoring basic climate variables will provide a long-term record of the trends associated with climate change. While management applications related to climate are limited, climate data is useful for ruling out other causes for system responses.

Preliminary Monitoring Objective

Monitoring objectives will be developed with the protocol.

Potential Measures

Air temperature, precipitation by type, relative humidity, total solar radiation, wind speed, wind direction, snow water equivalent, snow depth.


Last Updated: December 30, 2016 Contact Webmaster