JP1.19 - Real-Time Collection and Distribution of MSC T&P Climate Data

Monday, 20 June 2005
John MacPhee, MSC, Downsview, ON, ON, Canada

The Meteorological Service of Canada (MSC) is modernizing the reporting infrastructure for its Cooperative Climate Observing Program more commonly known as the Temperature and Precipitation (T&P) Network. The T&P network is the largest of its monitoring networks. The T&P Network is largely comprised of stations situated on privately owned land from which volunteer and cooperative observers twice daily gather; Maximum and Minimum temperature data, as well as rainfall, snowfall, and snow-depth data. The observer logs the data on a paper form, which is sent at month end to MSC regional offices. It can take up to 18 months for the MSC to receive, manually Quality Control (QC), keyboard, and archive that data to make it available for distribution.

As of late 2004, the Meteorological Service of Canada began asking the volunteer and cooperative observers in the T&P network to convert to an electronic reporting format. The MSC developed a web-based application called COOLTAP to collect climate information from those with access to internet enabled computers. For those who cannot access the internet we maintain a touch-tone reporting system called ONTAP-IVR. All observers received a letter in December 2004, asking that they convert to one of the two electronic reporting systems before April 1st, 2006. The MSC does not expect to have the funding to collect and input hardcopy climate data after that date. As a result, we will see the existing T&P network of 1400 observers evolve in reaction to our requirement for electronic data input. As of February 18, 2005 just over 300 of the 1400 observers have converted to electronic reporting. Some observers have indicated that they will withdraw from the program.

Users of data from this network will be faced with a smaller network of observations, but one that will report the majority of its observations daily. What will be the impacts for those users who monitor climate variability? Weather forecasters? NWP models? What type of network will evolve in reaction to a technological requirement? We expect to receive responses from all the T&P observers before the AMS- June 2005 meeting date.

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