State of the Park

Black Grouse (Tetrao tetrix) © Keith O'Brien

alt=View from Snowdon Summit

Climate Change

Although changes in the climate can occur naturally, there is a broad scientific consensus that human actions are contributing to climate change and also global warming. Activities that involve the emission of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere, predominantly through the burning of fossil fuels for power, are contributing to climate change.

More information regarding climate change, forecasts for the future and adaptation and mitigation measures can be found here

Data from Snowdonia contributes proactively to monitoring the effects of climate change, in order to ensure future adaptability.

The UK Environmental Change Network (ECN), in conjunction with Natural Resources Wales (NRW), monitors climate change and its potential impacts upon biodiversity, soils and freshwater at a site on Snowdon.

Annual Average Temperature2 and Rainfall

Snowdonia has experienced modest changes to the climate evidenced by monitoring on Snowdon. This has become apparent since the 1960s and 1970s. Spring air temperatures have shown an upward trend whilst winters have become less severe. Soil and grass minimum temperature have also both risen. Accompanying these changes has been a rise in annual precipitation totals since 1995. The extent of the overall temperature rise since recording started in 1995 have however been reduced by the effects of recent severe winters and because of the year-to-year variations in climate.

In addition, Snowdonia is one of the areas which contributes to the MONARCH (Modelling Natural Resource Responses to Climate Change) research programme. MONARCH aims to evaluate the impacts of climate change on nature conservation (including wildlife and geomorphological features) in Britain and Ireland. The outcomes of this study will gradually help to build our understanding of the complex interactions between climate change, land cover, species and their habitats.

The MONARCH 3 model was designed to more accurately predict changes at a habitat or community level, by examining a wide range of species and making further improvements to the predictive power of the modelling process. One such species of relevance to Snowdonia was Black Grouse (Tetrao tetrix).

Results indicate that there have been recent recoveries in Black Grouse populations in north Wales due intervention and improved management of upland areas by various agencies such as Natural Resources Wales and the RSPB.

Source: Lloyd, D.S., Turner, A.J., Skates, J. Easter, J. and Bowmaker, V. (2011) Yr Wyddfa Snowdon Environmental Change Network: 15 years of monitoring on Yr Wyddfa/ Snowdon. Countryside Council for Wales, Bangor.

2 For a given location the averages of daily maximum and minimum temperature for a single month for many years give mean daily maximum and minimum temperatures for that month. The average of these values is the mean monthly temperature. Monthly means, averaged through the year, give the mean annual temperature.

3 Ellenberg N values estimate the position along a productivity/macro-nutient availability gradient at which a species reaches peak abundance. The Ellenberg N Index consists of allocating a N score to each plant species, so that the overall mean score for the community lies on a scale of nutrient poor (1) to nutrient rich (10)Calculating mean values for sampled vegetation allows spatial or temporal changes in productivity to be inferred. Many calibration studies support the reliabilit y of these values in signal detection, but attributing change to a specific cause is difficult because the N values integrate a range of effects.