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Ohio State University (2019)

Exploring Great Basin National Park using a high-resolution Embedded Sensor Network

Sambuco, Emily Nicole

Titre : Exploring Great Basin National Park using a high-resolution Embedded Sensor Network

Auteur : Sambuco, Emily Nicole

Université de soutenance : Ohio State University

Grade : Master of Science (MS) 2019

The arid, high-elevation regions of the American Southwest are home to critical water resources and numerous species of plants and animals. Understanding the climatological controls in these complex environments, especially in the face of a changing climate, is critical for future planning and mitigation. This research utilizes an innovative, high-resolution Embedded Sensor Network (ESN) to investigate small-scale climatological conditions in Great Basin National Park (GBNP). The ESN, put in place in 2006 and maintained for over a decade, is comprised of 29 Lascar sensors. These sensors log hourly observations of near-surface temperature, dewpoint and relative humidity at locations spanning multiple topographic, hydrological, and ecological gradients within the park. From a maximum altitude of 4000 m atop Wheeler Peak, the sensor locations run along a multi-mountain ridgeline spanning 2000 m vertically, follow along two watersheds, and encompass multiple ecological environments including sub-alpine forests, alpine lakes, sagebrush meadows, and a rock glacier. Using this long-term dataset, a preliminary climatology for GBNP has been developed and analyzed. From 2006 to 2018, GBNP experienced an average near-surface lapse rate of –5.81°C/km, 0.7°C weaker than the commonly accepted alpine lapse rate of –6.5°C/km. Results also indicate that, on average, daily minimum temperatures in GBNP have increased by 2.06°C over the last decade. Variability is present, both temporally and geographically, in average temperatures, ground lapse rates and diurnal temperature ranges. These results indicate that courser-scale weather stations, such as the Wheeler Peak SNOTEL site, alone cannot account for the small-scale variability found in GBNP. This study offers an alternative, low-cost methodology for observing long-term conditions in mountainous environments at fine resolutions. In upcoming decades, climate change may continue to alter conditions in GBNP. In a region with critical water resources and fragile ecosystems, it is imperative that more work is done to understand the climatological controls in these complex environments. This study aims to offer climatological insights for arid, mountainous environments like GBNP, as well as the diverse conditions seen in mountainous environments around the world.


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Page publiée le 24 janvier 2020