To better understand climate variation on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, the Conservancy initiated a long-term weather collection program that provides localized data on rainfall, temperature, and humidity levels. Initially spurred by retired National Weather Service forecaster Don Gales, 22 years of hand-collected weather accounts have been used to create the dataset. Our goal is to build on it over time with a real-time data display and a searchable, archived database. These data can then be used to view long-term trends or day-to-day variations.
In 2009 and 2010, thanks to a generous grant from the Major Foundation, weather stations were installed in nine locations throughout the Palos Verdes Peninsula. The permanent stations transmit data to the Conservancy's website as a real-time display and also archived.
Weather station locations:
Can differences in microclimate on a one meter to one kilometer scale (roughly from a yard to a sixth of a mile) be detected and related to plant distribution? And, if so, can the information be helpful for coastal sage scrub restoration projects? These are questions that led a four-year study of the microhabitat variation within the Palos Verdes Nature Preserve.
Individuals of California bush sunflower (Encelia californica), prickly pear cactus (Opuntia littoralis), and purple sage (Salvia leucophylla) within the Palos Verdes Nature Preserve have been tagged by data loggers who record temperature, relative humidity, and dew point. During the growing season, plant phenology (how they grow, bloom, go to seed, etc.) is measured at regular intervals, usually thirty minutes.
Our microclimate project partner is Dr. Rasoul Sharifi, University of California Los Angeles, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Researcher (retired).