There is almost universal attention to understanding climate trends and variability as a basis for ecological research in the LTER network, and climate records are long enough (>3 decades) at almost all LTER sites to undertake meaningful quantitative analysis for site-level assessment of ecological responses and cross-site comparisons of responses to climate change. Yet despite the availability of climate records from the LTER network in a single, public archive since at least 2000, we have barely begun to systematically quantify climate trends and variability across the network.
Since 2009 the LNO has sponsored two synthesis workshops on this subject, resulting in the BioScience paper (Jones et al 2012) and three NSF proposals. Climate and streamflow trend analysis protocols have been developed with funding from the AND LTER (~$15K), and additional synthesis papers are underway. The Climate-Hydrology Synthesis Working Group is in a distinctive position within the LTER community to advance synthesis of long-term records to address current primary scientific questions. As evident in the recent collection of BioScience papers, this Working Group has made the most progress in publishing primary analysis of primary data, as distinguished from synthesis of a collection of site-based case studies. With the apparent demise of the Climate Committee, this group is the only current venue for verification, analysis and publication of long-term climate and streamflow data at daily and seasonal timescales relevant to ecosystems.
Despite this progress, our efforts to estimate and compare climate and streamflow trends for all LTER sites have been limited because:
- Some sites have not yet identified daily climate and streamflow data suitable for long-term trend analysis (1950-2012) or harvested these data into climDB/hydroDB, a web harvester and data warehouse that provides uniform access to common daily streamflow and meteorological data through a single portal;
- Climate data collected at LTER sites have not been checked for discontinuities due to changes in instrumentation, physical surroundings, data collection methods, or data archiving
- Climate and streamflow trends have not been shared, compared and interpreted by the full collection of LTER sites.
We propose a training workshop to address these challenges, building on our experience in the climate-hydrology working group. The goals of this working group are:
- Improve climate and streamflow daily data quality for long-term analysis at LTER sites
- Conduct rigorous, standardized trend analyses
- Compare, synthesize and publicize the results