National Park Service

Northern Great Plains Network (NGPN)

Parks in this Network

NGPN Network Map
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Network Map

NGPN Partners

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Weather and Climate Monitoring

Storm moving in over Wind Cave NP
Storm moving in over Wind Cave NP

Monitoring Documents

Other Reports

Weather Station Maps (kmz) Google Earth logo


For more information contact:
Kara Paintner-Green


Weather generally refers to current or near real-time atmospheric conditions, while climate comprises long-term atmospheric behavior. Climate and weather phenomena shade gradually into each other and are ultimately inseparable.

Weather is a fundamental driver of NGPN ecosystems. Trends in temperature and precipitation need to be understood in order to explain trends in other resources and annual climate measures are needed to help for trend analysis for many of our monitoring projects due to high among-year variability. Existing efforts through several regional and national networks of weather/climate stations collect these data.

The Inventory and Monitoring Division has also developed a stable repository for climate data. This repository provides a means for NPS staff to access, manage, and use climate data in a single and consistent format, thereby averting duplications of effort. Use of this database is documented through a series of standard operating procedures (SOPs) which are available from IRMA via this Direct Link.

Monitoring Objectives

  1. Determine daily, monthly, seasonal, and annual descriptive summaries for average temperature, temperature extremes, total precipitation, temporal distribution of precipitation events, and wind characteristics from at least one index in or near each park unit.
  2. Determine patterns of among-year variability and long-term trends in these weather/climate variables.

Parks Monitored

All NGPN parks

Vital Signs Monitored

Weather and Climate

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Last Updated: March 08, 2017 Contact Webmaster