High resolution temperature data for ecological research and management on the Southern Ocean Islands

Leihy, Rachel I. ; Duffy, Grant A. ; Nortje, Erika ; Chown, Steven L. (2018)

CITATION: Leihy, R. I., et al. 2018. High resolution temperature data for ecological research and management on the Southern Ocean Islands. Scientific Data, 5:180177, doi:10.1038/sdata.2018.177.

The original publication is available at https://www.nature.com

Article

Southern Ocean Islands are globally significant conservation areas. Predicting how their terrestrial ecosystems will respond to current and forecast climate change is essential for their management and requires high-quality temperature data at fine spatial resolutions. Existing datasets are inadequate for this purpose. Remote-sensed land surface temperature (LST) observations, such as those collected by satellite-mounted spectroradiometers, can provide high-resolution, spatially-continuous data for isolated locations. These methods require a clear sightline to measure surface conditions, however, which can leave large data-gaps in temperature time series. Using a spatio-temporal gap-filling method applied to high-resolution (~1 km) LST observations for 20 Southern Ocean Islands, we compiled a complete monthly temperature dataset for a 15-year period (2001–2015). We validated results using in situ measurements of microclimate temperature. Gap-filled temperature observations described the thermal heterogeneity of the region better than existing climatology datasets, particularly for islands with steep elevational gradients and strong prevailing winds. This dataset will be especially useful for terrestrial ecologists, conservation biologists, and for developing island-specific management and mitigation strategies for environmental change.

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