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A continental system for forecasting bird migration

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Science  14 Sep 2018:
Vol. 361, Issue 6407, pp. 1115-1118
DOI: 10.1126/science.aat7526
  • Fig. 1 Methodology for generating migration forecasts.

    We used weather surveillance radars to quantify 23 years of spring bird migration, modeled migration intensity as a function of observed atmospheric conditions, and used this model to forecast future migration events under predicted weather conditions.

  • Fig. 2 Migration forecasts and corresponding observed migration.

    (A) Countrywide migration forecast surfaces showing predicted mean migration intensity across altitudes. (B) Altitudinal profiles at four stations, showing predicted and observed intensity values. (C) Mean migration intensity observed at all radar stations. Gray circles indicate stations where migration intensity could not be measured because of precipitation.

  • Fig. 3 Accuracy of forecasts and nightly continental predictions.

    (A) Mean predicted and observed migration intensities for test data, with points colored by observed migration intensity (y axis). The scatterplot shows values after averaging across altitudes. Shading shows empirical 90% prediction intervals, which covered 90.5% of observed values. (B) Nightly peak migration magnitude estimated across the continental United States for 2008 to 2017. The size of migratory movements varied markedly from night to night during the peak of the migration season.

  • Fig. 4 Migration intensity predictions by air temperature and date.

    (A) Heat map colors show migration intensity predictions for dates and air temperature values. Each data point on the scatterplot behind the heat map represents data for one night from one radar. Only well-supported predictions and corresponding data points are shown (the outer 10% of temperature and date values are excluded). Temperature values correspond to air temperatures at altitudes up to 3000 m. (B) Cross sections of model predictions for three spring dates. For a given date, the model predicts migration intensity to vary closely with temperature. Fewer observations correspond to cold temperatures later in the season.

Supplementary Materials

  • A continental system for forecasting bird migration

    Benjamin M. Van Doren and Kyle G. Horton

    Materials/Methods, Supplementary Text, Tables, Figures, and/or References

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    • Materials and Methods 
    • Figs. S1 to S10
    • References 

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