Utilising repeat photography for long-term monitoring at the Cairngorm Environmental Change Network site: data analysis report

Andrews, Chris; Dick, Jan. 2020 Utilising repeat photography for long-term monitoring at the Cairngorm Environmental Change Network site: data analysis report. Edinburgh, UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, 34pp. (UKCEH Project no. 06953) (Unpublished)

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This report summarises the outcomes from fixed-point repeat photography at the Cairngorms Environmental Change Network research site in the Allt a’Mharcaidh, Scotland. The data covers the timing of multiple snow events as well as invertebrate and plant phenological events (Spittlebug spittlemass, heather flowering, Scots pine tree growth) over either a 17 year period (snow, 2003-2019), or 10 year period (invertebrate and plant, 2010-2019). Temperature at the site has not significantly changed over the 17 years overall, however two different temperature periods were identified; a general cooling period occurring between 2003 and 2010, followed by a warming phase driven mainly by increased winter temperatures (2010-2019). Duration of snow presence in the catchment was found to have significantly increased over the 17 years, primarily as a result of later spring melt, whilst flushing of pine needles was found to be occurring significantly earlier. Heather flowering and peak spittlemasses did not show any significant temporal response, however all biological phenological events showed strong correlations with May and June mean air temperatures, suggesting they are sensitive to temperature changes in the late spring to early summer and should be continued to be monitored going forward. A pixel colour counting technique was also tested alongside manual scoring of heather flowering phenophases, and found to be highly complementary. Adoption of the automated pixel colour counting of images is recommended as it removes potential observer error when assigning subjective phenological events to relatively subtle changes in images. However, its use is limited to situations where the region of interest is unlikely to be affected by obscuring weather events.

Item Type: Publication - Report
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Biodiversity (Science Area 2017-)
Funders/Sponsors: Natural Environment Research Council, Scottish Natural Heritage
Additional Keywords: remote sensing, repeat photography, phenology, environmental change, spittlebug, pine, heather, snow, temperature, climate change
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 04 Dec 2020 14:03 +0 (UTC)

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