A Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection and University of Connecticut Partnership
Long Island Sound Sentinel Monitoring for Climate Change Program

Definition of Sentinel and Ideal Attributes


A Long Island Sound climate change sentinel is a measurable variable (whether an abiotic factor, a system, process, or species) in the Long Island Sound estuarine or coastal ecosystems that is likely to be affected by climate change and that can be monitored.

Ideal Attributes

The indicators that will be the most effective sentinels of climate change ideally will possess all of the following attributes:

  • They can be measured at multiple sites, so that comparison between sites can be made;
  • The climate change signal for the indicator can be distinguished from natural variations or anthropogenic stressors with the appropriate sampling resolution;
  • For biological indicators, they are:
    • representative of regional biological communities, processes, ecosystems and/or
    • a species at the edge of its range (fringe) or in a habitat that is limited
  • They have an existing or potential data record that would allow comparison of historic, current, and future conditions
  • They can be measured and studied feasibly with respect to cost and available technology (or new technology can be developed in order to support their measurement).

The term “indicator” as used here is consistent with EPA’s Climate Ready Estuaries program (see Appendix A for a Glossary of Terms and List of Abbreviations).

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