Event Title

Atmospheric Predictors of Pulses in Vernal and Autumnal Nocturnal Bird Migrations using the Plymouth, New Hampshire NOAA-ESRL Snow Level Radar

Faculty Sponsor(s)

Leonard Reitsma

Location

Hartman Union Building Courtroom

Presentation Type

Event

Start Date

4-28-2017 4:00 PM

End Date

4-28-2017 5:00 PM

Abstract

Behavior of migratory bird species during migration is the least understood aspect of their annual life cycles. Radar of various types has been used to study bird migration, however, vertically-oriented radar is an unprecedented area of study. The NOAA-ESRL Snow Level Radar (SLR) at Plymouth State University has been collecting data since November 2014, and is the only one of its kind on the East Coast. We used this two-year dataset to examine how synoptic-scale weather patterns influence the timing of bird migration through central New Hampshire during the Fall and Spring seasons of 2015 and 2016. Over the two-year span, we selected peak pulse events for analysis based on their robust reflectivity as seen in the SLR imagery. Data from the synoptic set-up over the United States and Plymouth, New Hampshire were matched to the dates for these pulses to determine correlations between atmospheric triggers, prevailing wind directions in particular, and bird migration. Seasonable dependence for wind direction was found for corresponding migration periods. Light and variable north or northeasterly winds were correlated with pulses in fall migration and southwesterly winds during spring migrations. Our future research utilizing SLR will focus on better understanding the seasonal range of migration and peak pulses while attempting to quantify the number of migrants in relation to the SLR reflectivity. The migration patterns elucidated in these radar data have potential to augment existing monitoring of migration to detect both proximate conditions favorable to migration and long-term trends in overall abundance of migrants.

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Apr 28th, 4:00 PM Apr 28th, 5:00 PM

Atmospheric Predictors of Pulses in Vernal and Autumnal Nocturnal Bird Migrations using the Plymouth, New Hampshire NOAA-ESRL Snow Level Radar

Hartman Union Building Courtroom

Behavior of migratory bird species during migration is the least understood aspect of their annual life cycles. Radar of various types has been used to study bird migration, however, vertically-oriented radar is an unprecedented area of study. The NOAA-ESRL Snow Level Radar (SLR) at Plymouth State University has been collecting data since November 2014, and is the only one of its kind on the East Coast. We used this two-year dataset to examine how synoptic-scale weather patterns influence the timing of bird migration through central New Hampshire during the Fall and Spring seasons of 2015 and 2016. Over the two-year span, we selected peak pulse events for analysis based on their robust reflectivity as seen in the SLR imagery. Data from the synoptic set-up over the United States and Plymouth, New Hampshire were matched to the dates for these pulses to determine correlations between atmospheric triggers, prevailing wind directions in particular, and bird migration. Seasonable dependence for wind direction was found for corresponding migration periods. Light and variable north or northeasterly winds were correlated with pulses in fall migration and southwesterly winds during spring migrations. Our future research utilizing SLR will focus on better understanding the seasonal range of migration and peak pulses while attempting to quantify the number of migrants in relation to the SLR reflectivity. The migration patterns elucidated in these radar data have potential to augment existing monitoring of migration to detect both proximate conditions favorable to migration and long-term trends in overall abundance of migrants.