Our mission:
Via collaboration, creation of a publicly available  photographic database of weather stations and weather station metadata.


NEWS Updated 07/30/2012 

New paper in process, see details here

NOTE: Surfacestations.org gallery server has received heavy traffic and some attacks in the last 24hrs. The online image database aka gallery server site has been put into safe mode to secure backups and make it more secure.

After months of work, our paper has been accepted, read summaries on the paper at these locations:

Dr. Roger Pielke Senior's website here

Dr. John Neilsen-Gammon's website here

Anthony Watts website here

Media Resource - download PDF here

Link to the paper (final print quality), Fall et al 2011 here (updated)

Fall et all 2011 supplementary information here

Surfacestations project reaches 82.5% of the network surveyed. 1007 of 1221 stations have been examined in the USHCN network. The Google Earth map below shows current coverage.

USHCN surveyed 7-14-09

Reference for site ratings: NOAA's Climate Reference Network Site Handbook Section 2.2.1

Sincere thanks to Gary Boden and Barry Wise for this contribution!

SurfaceStationsReportCoverMid term census report of the Surface Stations Project: Is the U.S. Surface Temperature Record Reliable? - click cover image at left to download a PDF document. Now at 80%, and with a majority sample that is spatially well distributed, a full analysis will be coming in the next few months. We will however continue to survey stations in the hope of locating more CRN1 and CRN2 stations due to their rarity.

The upcoming papers will feature statistical analysis of the nationwide USHCN network in the context of siting.


Direct link to PDF of the report is here



Kansas, Nebraska, Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri, North Dakota, Idaho, South Dakota, Texas.

Excerpt graphics from the report are below:

Station quality ratings obtained from NOAA/NCDC via this source:

Climate Reference Network Rating Guide - adopted from NCDC Climate Reference Network Handbook, 2002, specifications for siting (section 2.2.1) of NOAA's new Climate Reference Network:

Class 1 (CRN1)- Flat and horizontal ground surrounded by a clear surface with a slope below 1/3 (<19deg). Grass/low vegetation ground cover <10 centimeters high. Sensors located at least 100 meters from artificial heating or reflecting surfaces, such as buildings, concrete surfaces, and parking lots. Far from large bodies of water, except if it is representative of the area, and then located at least 100 meters away. No shading when the sun elevation >3 degrees.

Class 2 (CRN2) - Same as Class 1 with the following differences. Surrounding Vegetation <25 centimeters. No artificial heating sources within 30m. No shading for a sun elevation >5deg.

Class 3 (CRN3) (error >=1C) - Same as Class 2, except no artificial heating sources within 10 meters.

Class 4 (CRN4) (error >= 2C) - Artificial heating sources <10 meters.

Class 5 (CRN5) (error >= 5C) - Temperature sensor located next to/above an artificial heating source, such a building, roof top, parking lot, or concrete surface."


Get Involved! help us document weather stations in the USA and the world.
Odd and irregular observing Sites looking at some of these observing sites you have to wonder: "what were they thinking"?
Resources links to useful and pertinent documents, images, drawings, specifications, and web sites.

Visit the blog to see highlighted examples of poorly sited stations in the "How Not to measure Temperature" series.

Site launched on 06/04/07

Progress as of 07/30/2012

USHCN Sites surveyed so far:


USHCN Sites rated so far:


USHCN Sites remaining:


"This is a very important need for the climate science community, and you are encouraged to obtain this photographic documentation if you can, and also share with the new website under development by Anthony Watts"
- Roger Pielke Sr., University of Colorado, June 1st, 2007

Other news:

Florida Completed!

Nevada USHCN surveys completed

California USHCN surveys completed! See all California stations here

Louisiana has only three stations left, Franklin, Lafayette, and Plain Dealing Any takers?

A look at how changes in paint on Stevenson Screens may have affected temperature measurement.

Now Online: Conference presentation given at CIRES/UCAR on 8/29/07 describing this project and the methods used to assign station site quality ratings, along with examples of many site issues seen thus far. Click to view slideshow

Special recognition to five volunteers; Bob Thompson, Eric Gamberg, Russ Steele, David Smith, and Don Kostuch, who turned summer travels into survey expeditions. Don Kostuch has surveyed more stations, and covered a broader geographic area than any other surveyor. Thanks to all!


Here is a well maintained and well sited USHCN station:

Graph is from NASA GISS - see it full size

Click pictures for complete site surveys of these stations

Here is a not-so-well maintained or well sited USHCN station:

Graph is from NASA GISS - see it full size

This site in Marysville, CA has been around for about the same amount of time, but
has been encroached upon by growth in a most serious way by micro-site effects.


What you'll find here

  • Site surveys of USHCN, GHCN, CWO, and other weather station networks
  • Photographic views and sketches of instrumental sitings
  • Historical notes on each station when available
  • Survey notes about nearby objects, surfaces, and sensor placement
  • Supplemental notes and photographs when applicable


Site Meter