National Park Service

Southeast Coast Network (SECN)

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Weather & Climate Monitoring

Spanish moss at Timucuan Reserve
Spanish moss at Timucuan Reserve

Weather & Climate Monitoring Reports & Briefs

Weather & Climate
Sampling Protocols & Procedures

NPS Air Resources Division SECN Webpage

For more information contact: Brian Gregory

Monitoring Objectives

Compile and analyze data from existing sources to:

  • Determine status, trends, and variability of precipitation and temperature over time inside and around SECN park units.
  • Determine the status, trends, and variability of derived weather data (i.e., drought indices) inside and around SECN park units.
  • Track the location, magnitude, and frequency of extreme weather events that affect SECN park resources.
  • Determine the time, and magnitude of lunar and storm-driven tidal events for marine and estuarine water bodies within SECN parks.

Background

Weather and climatic processes have been identified as significant drivers in SECN ecosystems. Understanding the role of climate as a forcing agent for other vital signs is critical to SECN monitoring. Observed changes in vital signs may be in response to multiple factors, such as anthropogenic stressors or variation in climatic conditions. Discerning reasons for observed changes that are responsive to mitigation measures (e.g., soil erosion vs. climate-driven change) will ensure effective management recommendations. Furthermore, untangling the effects of intrinsic climatic variation and climatic change will provide useful insights into regional trends in environmental change.

Weather drives all ecological systems, both aquatic and terrestrial. Continuous weather monitoring is a key factor in separating the effects of climate from the effects of human-induced disturbance on plant and animal community and population dynamics. In the SECN, weather and climate data are particularly necessary for proper interpretation and analysis of water quality and vegetation community data. Weather and climate data will be specifically integrated with the following vital signs:

  • Marine water quality
  • Surface water dynamics
  • Stream / River Channel Characteristics
  • Plant communities
  • Amphibians
  • Birds

Monitoring Approach

This protocol will be written as a collection of standard operating procedures to guide the acquisition, integration, and interpretation of weather data being collected by cooperating parks and agencies. At this point no new weather monitoring stations are planned for deployment by the Southeast Coast Network.

The need for site-specific weather data will be evaluated as protocols are developed for other Vital Signs. Existing information already being collected from nearby monitors will be compiled and summarized wherever this is possible and effective, with new weather monitoring stations being installed only where watershed-level requirements for weather data cannot be served by more distant existing monitoring stations.

Basic parameters of interest include rainfall, temperature, relative humidity, wind speed, wind direction, solar radiation and UV-B radiation. Park managers will be provided with park-specific annual climatic summaries, broken down by month. Information relevant for interpreting trends in resources of concern (described above) will also be provided.

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Parks Where Protocol Will Be Implemented

All SECN parks will be monitored.

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Last Updated: June 15, 2017 Contact Webmaster