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Geologic Publications for Mount Rainier

North Coast and Cascades Network climate monitoring report: Mount Rainier National Park; Water year 2017

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Author(s): Ben L. Wright, Rebecca A. Lofgren

Document Type: Natural Resource Data Series NPS/NCCN/NRDS—2018/1175
Publisher: National Park Service
Published Year: 2018
DOI Identifier:
ISBN Identifier:

Climate and weather events define the ecological characteristics found in national parks and are key to understanding and interpreting changes in natural resources. Everyday park operations including; fire management, search and rescue, maintenance of park infrastructure, and visitor use are influenced by weather. Collecting weather data and maintaining climate records provides essential information needed to support park operations and to monitor park resources.

This report summarizes climate data collected in Mount Rainier National Park during the 2017 water year, and is part of a set of climate summary reports from seven national and historic parks in the North Coast and Cascades Network. Published in the National Park Service’s Natural Resource Data Series, annual climate summary reports are intended to provide basic data sets and data summaries in a timely manner, with minimal interpretation and analyses. We intend that the primary audience for this document will be National Park staff, especially decision makers, planners, and interpreters; partners; and interested public.

Temperature and precipitation data are presented from eight weather stations located within Mount Rainier National Park: Camp Muir (10,100’ elevation), Carbon River (1,735’), Cayuse (5,200’), Longmire (2,760’), Ohanapecosh (1,950’), two stations at Paradise (5,550' and 5,120'), and Sunrise (6,420'). Data were recorded using automated and manual instruments operated by the National Park Service and other collaborators, including the National Weather Service, National Interagency Fire Center, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Northwest Avalanche Center. Monthly averages of daily average temperatures and monthly total precipitation are reported for all stations. Comparisons are made to the 30-year normal (1981-2010) for Longmire and Paradise, two stations with long term climate records. Snow water equivalent (SWE) is reported and compared to the 30-year normal for one SNOTEL station within the park and monthly snow depth is reported for four stations within the park.

Average annual temperatures and precipitation were both near to above normal for Water Year 2017. However, significant monthly departures from normal were recorded throughout the year. Overall conditions in winter were colder and wetter than normal, with a shift to warmer and drier conditions from May through September. Snowpack was slightly below normal during the winter months, but due to a cool and wet spring shifted to above normal conditions in March lasting through June. A significant shift in weather patterns occurred in June to above normal temperatures and below normal precipitation for the remainder of the water year. Most notably a 52-day drought where no precipitation fell and two heat waves in August resulting in the second hottest August on record at Paradise.

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Suggested Citations:
In Text Citation:
Wright and Lofgren (2018) or (Wright and Lofgren, 2018)

References Citation:
Wright, B.L. and R.A. Lofgren, 2018, North Coast and Cascades Network climate monitoring report: Mount Rainier National Park; Water year 2017: Natural Resource Data Series NPS/NCCN/NRDS—2018/1175, National Park Service,