Weather Effects on Winter and Fall Waterfowl Habitat in the Gulf Coast

Investigator(s): Tara Rodgers, Steve DeMaso, Nicholas Enwright, Mark Shafer
Research Dates: 2014
Affiliate Organization(s): United States Geological Survey • Gulf Coast Joint Venture • University of Oklahoma

SCIPP collaborated with the Gulf Coast Joint Venture to examine weather effects on wintering waterfowl habitat along the Texas Gulf Coast. The goal was to identify indices that can help predict the acreage of flooded habitat, suitable for waterfowl, each year. Three different time periods were used to assess habitat conditions: early season (late summer/fall), mid-season (winter), and late season (late winter/early spring). The project combines a variety of weather and climate indices with satellite-based estimates of flooded habitat (wetlands for waterfowl). In particular, drought indices were obtained from the Drought Risk Atlas, along with temperature and precipitation data from National Weather Service observing stations. Results showed that some variables have significant correlations and that these variables and strength of the relationship vary during the three periods. No single drought index stood out as being a better predictor than others, with variability of the “best” indicator dependent upon which part of the coastline was examined, but results did show that indices from 1-6 months lead time performed better than indices out to 12 months.

Poster Presentation (2.1MB)

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