What is the purpose of this website?

This website was created in response to the realization that very little physical site survey data exists for the entire United States Historical Climatological Network (USHCN) and Global Historical Climatological Network (GHCN) surface station records worldwide. This realization came about from a discussion of a paper and some new information that occurred on Dr. Roger Pielke Sr. Research Group Weblog. In particular, a thread regarding the paper:

Pielke Sr., R.A., C. Davey, D. Niyogi, S. Fall, J. Steinweg-Woods, K. Hubbard, X. Lin, M. Cai, Y.-K. Lim, H. Li, J. Nielsen-Gammon, K. Gallo, R. Hale, R. Mahmood, R.T. McNider, and P. Blanken, 2007: Unresolved issues with the assessment of multi-decadal global land surface temperature trends. J. Geophys. Res. in press.

and a subsequent posting in regards to comments in a thread discussing was a catalyst for the creation of this website.

Why are you doing this? Isn't this the responsibility of our government agency NOAA?

Yes NOAA is responsible for the operation, documentation and upkeep of the USHCN set of weather stations. In fact in 1997 there were concerns expressed by a National Research Council panel about the state of the climate measuring network.

In 1999, a U.S. National Research Council panel was commissioned to study the state of the U.S. climate observing systems and issued a report entitled: “Adequacy of Climate Observing Systems. National Academy Press”, online here  The panel was chaired by Dr. Tom Karl, director of the National Climatic Center, and Dr. James Hansen, lead climate researcher at NASA GISS. That panel concluded:

"The 1997 Conference on the World Climate Research Programme to the Third Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change concluded that the ability to monitor the global climate was inadequate and deteriorating."

Yet, ten years later, even the most basic beginning of a recovery program has not been started. No online photographic database existed of the USHCN stations, and despite repeated requests from Dr. Robert A. Peilke Senior at CIRES the project has not been undertaken. Given the lack of movement on the part of NOAA and NCDC, Dr. Peilke also made requests of state climatologists to perform photographic site surveys. A couple responded, such as Roger Taylor in Oregon, and Dev Nyogi in Indiana, but many cited "costs" of such work to thier meager budgets as a reason not to perform surveys.

Given such a massive failure of bureaucracy to perform something so simple as taking some photographs and making some measurements and notes of a few  to a few dozen weather stations in each state, it seemed that a grass roots network of volunteers could easily accomplish this task.

What are the goals?

  • To provide a standardized method for site survey and reporting so that interested individuals can gather site survey data, pictures, and anecdotal history of climate recording sites worldwide, and upload for screening
  • To provide a repository for screened and approved qualitative and quantitative site survey data, pictures, and anecdotal history
  • To provide a searchable database of such information for USHCN and GHCN climate station sites
  • To photographically document good sites that have been well preserved and maintained through their history
  • To photographically document poor examples of sites that may introduce biases and errors through faulty siting, encroachments, or maintenance issues, and to identify specific issues when possible

How can I assist in the process?

You can visit our download section to get the instructions and forms, as well as to look at the lists of USHCN and GHCN climate reporting stations near you to determine which ones might be appropriate for you to survey. Then after following the instructions to complete the site survey and the gathering of photographic data, completion of the forms for upload to this website.

Is there any charge for access or submission?

No there is not, though donations of time and expertise are gladly accepted. Server space, bandwidth, time, and travel to make this website work come out the website operators personal funds, no grants or government funding exists. Please see the Rules for Submission and Terms of Use