Why We Care
Channel Islands National Park comprises the five northernmost islands in the Southern California Bight, a coastal region of unique oceanographic conditions, marine ecosystems and biodiversity. The islands occur in a major transition zone within the bight that begins where cool ocean currents from the north mix with warmer currents from the south. As a result each island exhibits unique climatic conditions.
Climate is crucial in driving or regulating many biological and physical processes at the landscape level. Rainfall and temperature are the primary factors that limit an ecosystem's structure and function. Secondary limiting factors include long term climate patterns: the length and intensity of weather events, seasons in which they occur, and amount of variability between and among years. Together, these dynamics greatly influence the types of plant species that occur, and where; the ways in which nutrients are cycled; and the relationships between soil, plants, and water availability.
Climate can also affect the susceptibility of an ecosystem to disturbance. Information from long-term weather data will provide park managers an historic perspective invaluable for natural resource management, aid in detecting trends in other vital signs monitoring efforts, and document long-term climate change at Channel Islands National Park.
How We Monitor
Park researchers have established four automated real-time weather stations on the Channel Islands.
- Data collected at each station provides information about current weather conditions (precipitation, air temperature, wind direction and speed, solar radiation, fuel moisture and fuel temperature, barometric pressure, and dew point).
- Weather data are stored and archived at the Western Regional Climate Center, including 100 years of temperature and precipitation data from Santa Cruz Island, and is publicly available through their website.
Last updated: December 6, 2018