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Climate Change Studies at Mount Rainier National Park


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Presentation by Barbara Samora, Park Biologist

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Climate Change Studies at Mount Rainier National Park

  1. 1. Climate  Change  Related  Long-­‐term  Monitoring,  Inventories,  Surveys  and  Research  in  The  Nisqually   Watershed  in  Mount  Rainier  Na?onal  Park  
  2. 2. Long-­‐term  Ecological  Monitoring   Programs  
  3. 3. Climate  Monitoring   •  Understand  varia7ons  in  other   park  resources  being  monitored.   •  Compare  current  and  historical   data  to  understand  long  term   trends.                air  temp    precipita7on            (including    snow)      snow  depth                      wind  speed  wind  direc7on      soil  moisture    soil  temperature      rela7ve  humidity  
  4. 4. Climate  Monitoring   Cayuse Pass SNOTEL Cayuse   Pass  
  5. 5. ClimateView  of  Tatoosh  Range  from  Paradise   Water  Year  2011   Paradise   Record  year   Snow  melt  8/25  
  6. 6. Extreme  Weather  Events   Gobblers  Knob   Lookout  winter   2006   2006      121mph  Nov  6  
  7. 7. Remnants  of  an  avalanche  that  occurred  at  Owyhigh  Lakes,  Mount  Rainier  Na7onal  Park.    Avalanche  debris  covered  most  of  the  northern  por7on  of  the  lake  and  introduced  substan7al  amounts  of  large  woody  debris  into  the  lake.    Photo  was  taken  on  July  19th,  2011.  
  8. 8. Monitoring  Mountain  Lake  Ecology  Lakes  are  like  petri  dishes  –  exposed  to  atmospheric  and  terrestrial  processes.  and  subject  to  climate  change,  wind-­‐blown  contaminants,  acid  rain,  and  increased  recrea7onal  impacts  
  9. 9. Long  Term  Lakes  Monitoring   Amphibians   Fish   Macroinvertebrates   Zooplankton  
  10. 10. Citizen Science Amphibian Monitoring
  11. 11. Nisqually  River  at  Longmire   Drainage  basin  size:  48.67  km2  (18.79  mi2)   3  Glaciers  (Nisqually,  Wilson  and  Van  Trump)   Mean  annual  precipita7on:  262  cm  (103  in)  
  12. 12. Discharge  Measurement  
  13. 13. Radar  Level  Sensor  
  14. 14. Mount  Rainier  Atmospheric  Issues   Climate  change  could  have  the  following  impacts  •  on  air  quality  levels  (EPA  2009):   Deposi7on   sulfur  and  nitrogen  compounds  (acid  deposi7on)  •  Produce  2-­‐8  ppb  increases  in  summer?me   Visibility  •  average  ground-­‐level  ozone  concentra?ons  in   Ozone   many  regions  of  the  country.  Research   exacerbate  ozone  concentra?ons  on   •  Further  •  days  when  weather  is  ailready  conducive  to  high   Mercury/contaminants   n   fish  and  sediments   ozone  concentra?ons   •  Lengthen  the  ozone  season   •  Produce  both  increases  and  decreases  in   par?cle  pollu?on  over  different  regions  of  the   U.S.  
  15. 15. Baseline  Inventories/ Research  
  16. 16. Mercury  Cycling  and  Ecological  Risk  Across  Habitats  in  Mount  Rainier  Na7onal  Park  Climate      change  alters  biochemistry                                enhances  conversion  to  methyl  mercury  through  temp  changes  and  changes  in  weing  and  drying  pajerns                                  alters    distribu7on  of  species   Quan7fy  Hg  bioaccumula7on  and  risk  in   aqua7c  habitats  throughout  the  park  and   determine  spa7al  varia7on  among   different  aqua7c  habitat  types   Provide  a  tool  to  predict  risk  at  sites   throughout  the  park  
  17. 17. NPS  and  Biodiversity  Research  Ins7tute  
  18. 18. Declining Amphibians•  -Habitat Destruction•  -Chemical Contaminants•  -Pathogens•  -Climate Change•  -UV-B Radiation•  -Introduced Species
  19. 19. Chytridiomycosis     Objec?ves  (Batrachochytrium   1.  Rank  the  pond  dendroba1dis  (Bd)),  is  a   breeding  amphibians  major  driver  of   based  on  a  calculated  amphibian  declines  and   index  of  resistance  to  ex7nc7ons  worldwide     Bd.   2.  Contrast  this  index  for   select  species   between  popula7ons.     3.  Contrast  the   occurrence,   prevalence,  and   intensity  of  Bd   infec7on  between   popula7ons.  
  20. 20. Research  
  21. 21. Modeling  climate  change  effects  on  the  hydrology  of   Pacific  Northwest  wetland  ecosystems     develop  hydrologic  projec7ons  for  wetland  habitats  (forest  wetlands,   wet  meadows,  small  ponds,  riparian  wetlands)  to  support  ecological   and  landscape-­‐based  vulnerability  assessments  and  climate   adapta7on  planning     Monitor  Temperature  and  water  level  in  wetland  habitats   Conduct  visual  surveys  of  wetlands    to    map/measure  changes  in  pond   depth  &  areal  extent,  and  monitor  amphibian  occupancy  
  22. 22.  Cascades  Bu[erfly  Project      Bujerflies  are  sensi7ve  indicators  of  climate   change  because  temperature  influences  the   7ming  of  an  individual’s  life  cycle  and  the   geographic  distribu7on  of  species.  As   individuals  develop  from  egg  to  larvae  to   pupae  and  finally  to  mature  bujerfly,   temperature  thresholds  may  trigger  these   changes.      Mountain  Parnassian  (Parnassius  smintheus)     Inventories  are  being  conducted  of   bujerflies  across  our  landscape   Permanent  transects  have  been  established   to  monitor  changes  in  bujerfly  abundance   and  species  diversity.    Volunteers  record   bujerfly  abundances  and  plants  in  flower   along  each  transect.    
  23. 23. Pollinators  of  alpine     and  subalpine  plant     communi7es  on     Mount  Rainier    Elinore  J.  Theobald     Co-­‐PI:  Dr.  Janneke  HilleRisLambers     Biology  Department     University  of  Washington    document  pollinator  diversity  and  abundance  and  quan7fy  how  plant  reproduc7ve  success  depends  on  pollinators   Pollinator  visits  will  ensure  that  plants  set   seed    and  meadows  con7nue  to  flower  
  24. 24. TESTING  THE  LIMITS:  EFFECTS  OF  CLIMATE  &  COMPETITION  ON  CONIFER  DISTRIBUTIONS  AT  MT.  RAINIER   Ailene  Kane  Einger,  PhD  Candidate    Dr.  Janneke  HilleRisLabmers,  Advisor     Biology  Department   University  of  Washington  how    will  tree  seedlings,  such  as  this  western  hemlock,  will  be  affected  by  climate  change  
  25. 25. Phenology  and  Climate  Change   Dr.  Janneke  Hille  Ris  Lambers,     Biology  Department     University  of  Washington     Examine  the  links  between  plant  phenology   (flowering)  to  microclimate  variability  (e.g.   snow  dura7on,  temperature   Predicted  climate  changes  (temp,   snowmelt,  precip)  will  affect  the  phenology   (i.e.  7ming  of  biological  life  events)  of   subalpine  wildflower  species,  which  could   have  implica7ons  for  the  pollina7ng  insects   that  rely  on  them    
  26. 26. Predic?ng  the  effects  of  future  climate  change  on   the  subalpine  and  alpine  meadows  of  Pacific   Northwest  Mountains   •  meadows  support  seven  of   the  12  imperiled  or  rare   plants  in  the  park  (including   the  two  plant  species   endemic  to  Mount  Rainier   and  the  local  area).   •   meadows  provide  important   habitat  for  wildlife  such  as   mountain  goats,  white-­‐tailed   ptarmigans,  hoary  marmots   and  the  American  pika.     •   the  meadows  are  a  popular  Snow disappears earlier from ridges des7na7on  in  the  Park,  with  (which are more likely to support about  65%  of  visitors  patches of trees) than topographic travelling  to  the  meadows  to  depressions (which are more likely view  the  wildflower  displays.    to support patches of meadow).  
  27. 27. RESPONSE  OF  RIVER  RUNOFF  TO  BLACK  CARBON  IN  SNOW  AND   ICE  IN  WASHINGTON  STATE   1.  assess  the  spa7al  and  temporal  variability  of   BC  deposited  in  Washington  snow  and  glacier   ice,     2.  begin  to  assess  the  poten7al  role  of  BC  in   accelera7ng  snow  and  glacier  melt