Guest Post by Russ Steele
After a two day search for the Buffalo Bill Dam Stevenson Screen listed in the NCDC Data base as COOP 4871175, Ellen and I found this surface station at the old power plant in a non-public area. On our first day, we went to the visitors center, which is where Google Earth placed the cross hairs for the coordinates listed in the NCDC data base. The visitor center staff said no weather station there, and suggested we contact the Department Interior, Bureau of Reclamation at the new power house below the dam.
The dam is west of Cody, Wyoming.
I could not find any sign of the site at the new power plant, the gate was locked and they were not answering the phone, so I hiked around the site snapping pictures for farther analysis.
I also called Anthony Watts, and he provided some clues from the Buffalo Bill Dam Visitor Center web site and some satellite photos he had access to. In the Google Earth photos the old power house is in total shadow. So Ellen and I went back to the catwalk on top of the dam Wednesday with some high powered binoculars and a camera and looked down river toward the old powerhouse, and we spotted the shelter on top of a stone wall at the edge of the river all swaddled in mist.
Click for larger image
Here is a photo from the walk way along the top of the dam. I can not imagine a worse place for a USCHN weather station. It is located in a very narrow canyon, with long shadows. It is surrounded by stone building heat sinks except on the river side. Here on the river it is exposed to waters of varying temperatures, cold in spring and winter, warm in summer and fall as the river flows vary with the season. The level of spray also varies, depending on river flow. During high flows the spillway creates a lot of spray. During low water conditions, the only water flow is through the two power houses, one which is a mile down stream. Very little spray. We know that the amount of water vapor in the air has a big impact on temperatures, and here it varies by season and river flow.
Stevenson Screen Photo was taken from far right on this catwalk, looking down river
Here is an Average Temperature plot from 1905 to 2006.
NOTE: Thanks Russ, for your persistence. What a bizarre place to put a climate monitoring station. Had I not found this tiny photo on the Buffalo Bill Dam website, we probably would never have found it.
Another “high quality” USHCN station for sure- Anthony