Help survey a weather station this Labor Day weekend

As many of you know, I also operate www.surfacestations.org with the goal of completing the survey of all 1221 USHCN climate stations of record in the continental United States. Doing so, we’ve uncovered some very interesting siting and quality control anomalies such as the one below:

That photo above is the USHCN Station for Saint Johns, AZ. I kid you not. The electronic sensor is inside the Stevenson Screen, note the conduit.

So, if you are planning to drive someplace this weekend, you may want to think about surveying weather a station or two that may be along your route. There are still about 600 left to be surveyed in most states. California has been completed, and Florida needs only two to complete the state: Ocala and Key West. Ocala is at the water plant see the map here and is an MMTS electronic sensor, which looks like this:

MMTS unit

Another and newer type of thermometer is the Maximum Minimum Temperature System or MMTS. An MMTS is an electronic thermometer not too different from the type you buy at the local electronics store. The MMTS is a thermistor housed in a shelter which looks similar to a bee hive. This design is similar in functionality

If anyone is traveling near Ocala this weekend, please help me out and get a photos of the sensor placement if you can. Even if this public facility is closed. You may still be able to get photos from the street or through the fence. Or just go there during a weekday when its open and state your business.

How to find a USHCN station near you:

  1. Locate the station from the USHCN master list, click to open to see if the site has been surveyed yet. They are sorted by state and city. Locate ones near you. You can also check the photo gallery to see the latest updates for stations that might have been surveyed but not on the list yet.
  2. Open the NOAA MMS Station locator to get better latitude/longitude coordinates, press “Guest Login” button and then type station name in the search box.
  3. Locate the station in the list, note detailed latitude and longitude info which you can put into Google Earth or similar mapping program to help locate the station.
  4. Click on the Name of the station, it will pop up a new window. Note below the “Begin Date” there is a highlighted link with the actual dates, click the date to open details.
  5. Look for “Managing Parties” in the MMS results (you may have to scroll down) and that will tell you the name of the observer, be it a private residence, government entity, or organization. Do additional Google searches as needed for the name, city, state and you may locate a telephone number.
  6. Download our “How to Guide” and station Survey form here and begin the station survey per those instructions

There are lots of other stations that need surveying, particularly in the Midwest, these need the most surveys done yet:

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

You help at getting more stations surveyed would be appreciated. I’ll be happy to take questions here in comments or to offer help in location. Once you get the station surveyed, sign up for our free database and upload the pictures.

Of course if you can’t survey a station, a donation using the button at right always helps defer teh costs of the many trips I’ve made wand will continue to make until the job is done. Thanks for your consideration. – Anthony

UPDATE:I have attempted to fix the broken link noted by many posters. I hope I did it correctly Anthony ~charles the moderator

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23 thoughts on “Help survey a weather station this Labor Day weekend

  1. MMTS sensors are a joke. First off it the power goes out or surges or in some cases the line from the sensor to the recorder is cut, bye bye data. This happens quit a bit. I keep data for a station on the big island of Hawaii on the NW coast and when the MMTS was installed the average temperatures fell about 4 degrees. Station was always one of the hottest spots in Hawaii, never happened again. They had prior, sixes max/min thermometers in a CRS (now called a Stevenson Screen for some reason). Also MMTS are not always at the 5 foot level that official temperatures are kept at.

  2. Happy to help, but the USHCN master list link (in the article) does not work. I get an “Error 404.”

    Regards

  3. FYI…The link to the USHCN master list isn’t working.

    Have any sites in Arkansas been surveyed at all? I noticed St Johns, AZ, wasn’t noted as surveyed, so just wanted to double check.

  4. The stations master list URL is not correct. By the map on surfacestations, it appears the west Texas/eastern NM area is rather vacant. My wife and I can probably help with that this weekend as well as in November when we’re taking a trip into NM/CO. I’m guessing you have access to my email information from your end, so feel free to drop me a note if my assumption about this area’s lack of surveys is incorrect, or any other information I might need.

  5. AEGeneral. St. Johns was recent, and the list has not been updated.

    Arkansas is wide open!

  6. A THERMISTOR ??? That can’t be right. A thermocouple or RDT. Thermistors suck. They drift with time, are non-linear (which can be sort of compensated) and differ from part to part. There are some good companies making them, and they may jump up and down saying it ain’t so, but I have used them. Cheap, but no where near good enough for what MMTS is used for. OK, perhaps they weren’t intended for climate change monitoring, still…

    Anthony, I think you need to add 1 to each CRN designation. Maybe 2.

    I’ll try to grab a station hereabouts. Got my camera, GPS, compass, walking stick, and emergency food supply (in case it takes a while to find).

  7. I’m driving from the Chicago area to NW Arkansas next week and then back to Chicagoland the following week. I’ll be traveling by a few of the sites listed and will be glad to try my hand at this. My (first) rookie question;

    One site I’m looking at is Pontiac, Illinois. It seems to have two sites. Are you looking for a survey from one or both?

  8. Ted, only this one, station # 116910 Here are the details:

    Location Description: RESIDENCE WITHIN AND 0.4 MILES SW OF PO AT PONTIAC IL
    Topographic Details: URBAN AREA. SRG IS JUST A FEW FEET SOUTH OF VERMILLION RIVER, HEAVILY WOODED ALONG RIVER.

    Here is the Google Earth link

    http://maps.google.com/maps?q=40.88528,-88.63889&ie=UTF8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-a&ll=40.885292,-88.638897&spn=0.047759,0.076132&t=h&z=14&iwloc=addr

    This is a private observer, and must be treated with care. My advice, since it is a small town, is to ask around, such as at the post office, feed store, or newspaper. People in small towns usually know who keeps the weather records there.

    Many observers are thrilled to have the attention, but make sure they understand we are only interested in documenting the conditions around the station, not revealing any personal information or identity.

  9. Anthony,

    I have had a life-long interest in growing plants – trees, shrubs, flowers, vegetables – as a result I regularly up-dated my copy of the Western Garden Book. According to the book, the West has 24 climate zones. In other words climate is not global but local. Example, Chico is in climate zone 9 while Orland, 20 miles away, is in zone 8. In addition, some of the major zones include micro-climates, From this one can conclude that climate as well as temperature is a local phenomena. I did wonder how the Santa Anna Wind made it all the way to Chico, when I was there yesterday. My Western Garden Book has not been up-dated in the last 12 years, when I experienced a sudden loss of interest, so maybe the climates have changed.

  10. I’ll try the Ocala station, we went down and looked for it months ago but could not find it, but you have a better map up now.

    BK

  11. Anthony, I’m confused.

    You had stated some time back that CA was complete, Hooray, but then your story about Santa Ana appeared, not previously surveyed. How many different lists are there? Which one(s) should we concentrate on?

    REPLY: Thats a COOP-A station, I was talking about being complete for USHCN stations the COOP stations are the biggest list, with subsets for USHCN and GISS makes their own list which is some USHCN and some COOP-A stations. While I may occasionally highlight other stations in the blog, USHCN is the main focus. – Anthony

  12. The best way to find out what stations need to be surveyed is to check the photo gallery. There is an album for each state, and a entry for each station. If there are photos in there, it’s been done. Go to gallery.surfacestations.org

  13. OK I got photos of the Ocala station which I’ll upload Sunday. The station has been moved to the Ocala Water Reclamation Station #2 at 4200 SE 24th ST (I think, I’ll check my notes which are in the car)

    link:

    The unit is just to the west of the gray roofed building in this google maps shot, close to the fence.

    I work for the Gainesville Utilities dept which is 40 miles north and that got me an in to talk to the weekend operator at the original site that you put the map up for. I did not get to speak to the operator at the plant where it was moved. I’d guess this is a 2-3 mile move.

    No screen just one of the modern automated units and its about 25 feet from the building close by the parking lot and with all the associated water processing equipment and tanks on site.

    BK

    REPLY: Thanks so much! – Anthony

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