PRBO Conservation Science
Quarterly Journal of PRBO Conservation Science, Number 159, Winter 2010: Extreme Weather




  

Weather Data Field Stations

Journal Excerpts


 
Extreme Weather—and Birds
CEO's Column: Weather or Not?
Sagebrush Snowstorm
Weathering Extremes on the Farallones
Desert Birds and Drought
Marsh Birds Time the Tides
Tipping Points for Penguins
Recording the Weather
Journal Excerpts
El Niño, Winds, and Upwelling
Focus on Extreme Weather
Planned Giving Checklist
PRBO Highlights
Funders, Skippers, Staff
 


Along with collecting quantitative data at PRBO's Palomarin and Farallon Island field stations, biologists and interns record significant events in daily journals. These continuous logs, begun in March 1965 at Palomarin and in April 1968 on Southeast Farallon Island, include complete bird lists, weather observations, and activity highlights. Journal entries that note extreme temperature and rainfall shifts also provide a window into climate change. Here are several examples.

Palomarin

April 21, 1987 · "Hot. Temperature got up to 30C (86F) on the dry bulb. Very little wind. Not a typical California spring day."

January 2, 1996 · 32C (90F), hottest January day on record. "Weather much like July days. Too hot for January."

May 28, 1998 · 3.0 cm (1.2") in 24 hours, rainiest day in May on record. "Rain, rain it's raining."

April 1, 2000 · 33C (91F), hottest April day on record. "A scorcher! Too hot for birds!"1

December 27, 2004 · 9.3 cm (3.7") in 24 hours, rainiest day on record at Palomarin.

December 3, 2005 · "Stormy and crazy. Highway 1 and all roads to Bolinas closed in early part of day due to major flooding."
During an extreme heat wave in 2008 on the Farallones, PRBO modified nest boxes used by Cassin's Auklets in our study plots. The box is partly visible above ground, with its pipe entryway. The special roof on top helped protect the incubating bird inside. Photo by Pete Warzybok.

Southeast Farallon Island

March 25, 1975 · "Northwest wind blew all day at gale force, making maneuvering around the island difficult."

January 26, 1983 · "Big weather day. An 8 AM high tide of 6.8 feet sent waves over the saddle of Saddle Rock and generally wreaked havoc on the elephant seal colonies. Waves regularly washed East Landing and the steps at North Landing. At 8 PM, southeast swells were breaking over East Landing as high as the boom, shaking the entire structure."

May 15, 2008 · "Heat wave! Temperature rose from 17C (63F) to 24C (75F) between 7 and 8 AM. Spent the whole day with all hands attempting to reduce impacts on auklets. Built shading over all occupied boxes, using rocks, dirt, packer lids, spare plywood."

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