CR prepress abstract  -  DOI:

An empirical test of the ClimateWNA model for local accuracy in the Kluane Lake area of the southern Yukon, Canada

Charles J. Krebs*, J. David Henry, Alice J. Kenney, Elizabeth J. Hofer


ABSTRACT: Ecological studies related to climate typically require data on temperature and rainfall. If local climate data are not available, the only recourse is to rely on data from the closest meteorological station or interpolated data from regional models of climate. In the southwestern Yukon we have for the past 25 years gathered ecological information such as counts of cones on white spruce trees and attempted to relate these biological variables to weather variables. From 2001 to 2014 we measured local summer temperature and rainfall during the growing season at 7 local sites along 250 km of the Alaska Highway and tested the accuracy of the ClimateWNA model estimates for these 7 sites as well as for the Haines Junction Environment Canada met station. Monthly summer temperatures were reasonably well correlated with the predicted ClimateWNA values (r = 0.90, n = 299 months) but summer rainfall was not (r = 0.37, n = 218 months). We repeated this analysis with the DAYMET climate model and got similar results. We caution the use of ClimateWNA or DAYMET rainfall estimates for local areas in this part of the southwestern Yukon for the prediction of ecological measurements.