Long-term temperature and precipitation trends at the Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory, Otto, North Carolina, USA

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Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory, located in western North Carolina, USA, is a 2,185 ha basin wherein forest climate monitoring and watershed experimentation began in the early 1930s. An extensive climate and hydrologic network has facilitated research for over 75 years. Our objectives in this paper were to describe the monitoring network, present long-term air temperature and precipitation data, and analyze the temporal variation in the long-term temperature and precipitation record. We found that over the period of record: (1) air temperatures have been increasing significantly since the late 1970s, (2) drought severity and frequency have increased with time, and (3) the precipitation distribution has become more extreme over time. We discuss the implications of these trends within the context of regional and global climate change and forest health.

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