People send me stuff. My Inbox bursts daily with ideas, suggestions, papers, and photos.
Here is a climate monitoring station in Tremonton Utah. Notice anything peculiar about the placement of the temperature sensor? It is the white “bee hive” on the pole on the asphalt.
Note the conduit for the cable to the MMTS. This underscores something I’ve been saying about the MMTS installation for some time. The COOP managers that install these aren’t given the tools or time to get past obstructions like asphalt and concrete, thus the MMTS ends up closer to buildings than the “wireless” Stevenson Screen.
Randy Julander writes in:
Randy Julander here, snow survey supervisor, NRCS, USDA. Here are a few pics from the Tremonton Utah MMTS site which is right outside our NRCS field office in Tremonton. Normally there is a large truck parked right next to the sensor. As you can see, next to the building, next to the air conditioner, asphalt everywhere. Nice placement.
I’ll say, right on the pavement, 10 feet from the building. Randy mentions a truck being parked by the sensor. It shows up nicely on the Google aerial view:
A live Google maps interactive view is here
Temperature measurement issues aside, I wonder what the wind tunnel between the vehicles does for the accuracy of the rain gauge?
Here is the view looking north showing the parking lot that doubles as a climate monitoring station.
In the photo below, notice how the rain gauge and MMTS have been placed in parallel with the diagonal parking. This is not accidental.
While we have many people who are actively surveying the USHCN network, there are still hundreds of other NOAA/NWS COOP stations that are not part of the special USHCN subset of stations.
There is also the COOP-A network, which is used in climate and the is reported to NCDC, just like USHCN.
Most importantly, these stations are used by NCDC’s FILNET program, which will “fill in” missing data for a single station.
Here’s more on FILNET from NCDC:
FILNET (Fill Missing Original Data in the Network)
Estimates for missing data are provided using a procedure similar to that used in SHAP. This adjustment uses the debiased data from the SHAP and fills in missing original data when needed (i.e. calculates estimated data) based on a “network” of the best correlated nearby stations. The FILNET program also completed the data adjustment process for stations that moved too often for SHAP to estimate the adjustments needed to debias the data.
The B91 for Marysville is shown at left. Note the significant amount of missing data.
This happened because the volunteer observer was the fire station office manager, who didn’t work weekends or holidays, and had vacation throughout the year. Even though the fire station was manned 24/7, unfortunately the firefighters on-duty did not participate in keeping the records.
See a B91 form page from the Marysville USHCN record at left and note the missing data.
COOP-A stations like Tremonton Utah one are used by NCDC’s FILNET to interpolate missing data for nearby USHCN stations. Thus, it is just as important that they also be properly sited and maintained.
It appears though that they may suffer from the same sort of maintenance and siting issues that the USHCN does. After all, other than being a special subset of the COOP-A network, chosen for continuity of records over a long period and a minimum of site moves, there really is no other difference between USHCN and COOP-A stations.
They are all part of the same group and are maintained by the same people using the same tools and methods.
It seems that the sot of problems we see at Tremonton UT are widespread in the entire COOP-A network as well as USHCN. I’ll have more examples in future posts.