While I was at NCDC, Grant Goodge showed and provided me with a PowerPoint presentation about the plan to update the USHCN manual observing network to USHCN-M or “modernized”. In a nutshell, it is a “light” version of the Climate Reference Network. The summary of benefits goes like this.
More Accurate Data Through:
- Redundant Sensors
- Near Real Time Diagnostics
- Time Resolution of Five Minutes vs The Current Daily
- Automated data collection via GOES satellite uplink, eliminating human error of reading and transcription
- No adjustments to the data post reception. Time of Observation is now irrelevant.
- No more routinely missing data, such as on weekends (fire station at Marysville, CA for example) and thus no need to fill in estimated data using the FILNET adjustment any more.
The station looks much like a Climate Reference Network station, but has some economy considerations, especially in having one aspirated IR screen instead of three, but it contains triple temperature sensors so that issues with instrumentation drift or offset events can easily be spotted in the data stream.
This will be a huge step forward in data quality and quality control.
His PowerPoint presentation is available here at this link: why-modernize-hcn (PPT 9 MB)
Interestingly, it included what appears to be a photo of the rooftop station in Asheville, NC, at the old NCDC (Federal Building) I’m waiting on a positive ID.