Air & Climate

A view of the Washington Monument showing hazy air on the right and clear air on the left.
Washington, DC air quality webcam

Air pollution affects scenic and natural resources in national parks, including lakes, streams, plants, and wildlife. Poor visibility caused by air pollution can indicate that there may be other impacts occurring to resources that cannot be readily observed. Human-made pollution can injure various species of trees and other plants, acidify streams and lakes, and leach nutrients from soils. Metals, such as mercury, can bioaccumulate in the food chain, causing behavioral, neurological, and reproductive effects in fish, birds, and wildlife.

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Air & Climate Resource Briefs
Air & Climate Reports
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A number of state and federal agencies have established a network of air resources monitoring sites in and around the National Capital Region. The NCRN is utilizing these resources and utilizes assistance from the NPS Air Resources Division to monitor the air quality in and around all parks of the National Capital Region Network. Air quality parameters monitored in the NCRN include ozone levels, visibility, and atmospheric deposition of nitrogen, sulfur, and mercury. Monitoring data are used to determine compliance with the National Ambient Air Quality Standards and to assess national and regional air pollution control policies.

Climate and weather are largely monitored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service (NOAA NWS).

Climate Change Monitoring

In addition to air and climate monitoring, the NCRN I&M program is currently monitoring regional effects of climate change. The possibility of rising sea levels caused by climate change, threatens to submerge the unique freshwater tidal marshes of the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers. The NCRN monitors the elevation of these tidal marshes in conjunction with the Northeast Coastal and Barrier and the Northeast Temperate I&M networks and with select U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) refuges. Data will eventually be compiled to assess trends for the entire North Atlantic region. A project work plan is available online. This collaboration is part of the Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC) effort that addresses climate change on a large scale. Learn more about LCCs.


Air Quality Resource Briefs

Source: Data Store Saved Search 1411. To search for additional information, visit the Data Store.

Climate Change Resource Briefs

Source: Data Store Saved Search 1412. To search for additional information, visit the Data Store.


Source: Data Store Collection 973. To search for additional information, visit the Data Store.

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    Last updated: September 3, 2020