Gridded meteorological data as a resource for mechanistic macroecology in coastal environments


  • Corresponding Editor: D. S. Schimel.


Gridded weather data were evaluated as sources of forcing variables for biophysical models of intertidal animal body temperature with model results obtained using local weather station data serving as the baseline of comparison. The objective of the study was to determine which gridded data are sufficient to capture observed patterns of thermal stress. Three coastal sites in western North America were included in this analysis: Boiler Bay, Oregon; Bodega Bay, California; and Pacific Grove, California. The gridded data with the highest spatial resolution, the 32-km North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR) and the 38-km Climate Forecasting System Reanalysis (CFSR), predicted daily maximum intertidal animal temperature most similarly to the local weather station data. Time step size was important for variables that change rapidly throughout the day, such as solar radiation. There were site-based differences in the ability of the model to predict daily maximum intertidal animal temperature, with the gridded data predictions being the closest to local weather station predictions in Boiler Bay, Oregon. In a review of gridded data used as part of ecological studies, there was broad use of the data across subject areas and ecosystems so the recent improvements in the spatial (from 2° to 32 km) and temporal scales (from 6 hours to 1 hour) of gridded data will further add to the applicability within the ecological community particularly for mechanistic studies.