Click picture to find the thermometer
One of the things learned from the www.surfacestations.org project is how the conversion of standard mercury thermometers in Stevenson Screens to the newer MMTS type electronic thermometers has resulted in many USHCN stations being placed closer to buildings. This is a result of cable trenching issues and NWS COOP managers general lack of equipment and time to do effective cable laying. The spec for the MMTS thermometers allows for cables up to 1/4 mile in length between the sensor and the display.
The MMTS thermometer in the photo above is no exception to this problem (if you can find it).
This station above is in the middle of America’s agricultural belt, in Hay Springs, Nebraska. It is a standard COOP station #253710 at an observer’s residence. It is a Class “A” station according to NCDC so data from it does make it into the climate record.
On the other side of town we have the official USHCN climate station of record there, COOP # 253715 located at the Mirage Flats irrigation District Office. While you’d think that the rural “great plains nature” of this station would provide for a better environment, like the one above, it is also at about 5 feet from the building, but doesn’t have shrubbery affecting daytime sun and nighttime reflected IR like the other station:
Click picture for a larger image
In either case, the placement so close to heated buildings certainly doesn’t provide what would be considered a quality measurment environment for temperature. According to the NCDC database records, the USHCN station was converted from a Stevenson Screen to a MMTS in 1989.
These stations were surveyed by surfacetstations.org volunteer Eric Gamberg. To see the complete photo album, please see this link.
One of the hopes I have as we survey more stations in the midwest is that we’ll find better quality siting and placements. I hope these examples are not indicative of what we’ll find in the great plains.