An Analysis Of The Relation Between Precipitation, Streamflow, And Phenology Data In The Tohono Chul Park Region, Tucson, Arizona

Presenter: (ICREWW) 1
Co-Author(s): Dylan Girone, Diana Picon Hernandez, Nick McFarlin, Monique Carver, Ava Lasater, Peyton Smith Martha Whitaker, Theresa Crimmins, Chris Castro
Advisor(s): Dr. Martha Whitaker
1Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Arizona

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We are analyzing patterns between precipitation, streamflow, and phenology data in the vicinity of Tohono Chul Park (TCP) in Tucson, Arizona to discern if there is a connection between water availability and timing of plants’ life cycles. The motivation to seek these connections and patterns stems from our interest in exploring how precipitation (and possibly streamflow as a proxy) affects the timing of flowering in several plant species from 2016-2021. To identify these patterns, we are looking at streamflow and precipitation data collected at four Pima County Regional Flood Control District’s (PCRFCD) ALERT gages in the TCP region, and also using data from the USA National Phenology Network, collected and reported by TCP docents. To account for the raingauges not being co-located with the phenology data, gridded precipitation products (multi-radar multi-sensor (MRMS)) were used to obtain precipitation rates over the area of interest. The data have presented some challenges given that the phenology data have been collected by dedicated citizen scientists and only for a relatively short period of time (since 2016, and with a substantial gap during 2020 owing to COVID). In addition, PCRFCD streamgages are designed to alert the county of flash floods, which means they are not always well-calibrated for lower flows. We will present synoptic streamgage, precipitation, and phenology data for 2016-2021 from the TCP region, with the intention of identifying patterns of precipitation and streamflow that might affect phenology at TCP. A comparison dataset for the region surrounding Tucson Botanical Gardens may also be presented.

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