14th Conference on Applied Climatology


Developing Climate Station Histories for pre-20th Century U.S. Observing Sites

Lesley-Ann L. Dupigny-Giroux, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT; and T. R. Ross and S. R. Doty

The climatological community has long desired the use of digital long-term observational data from the earliest records taken in the U.S.. This dream is becoming a reality under the auspices of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Database Modernization Program (CDMP). The CDMP is managed by the National Climatic Data Center in partnership with the Regional and State Climate Centers. The primary focus is to extend the current digital database which begins in 1948, by keying (manual data entry) climate observations recorded at U.S. military and civilian stations since the late 1700s.

One of the benefits of a historical digital climate record is its usefulness in addressing the complex issues of long-term climate trends and natural climate variability. Complementary to such analyses are the ancillary information about the data themselves, i.e. the station histories, that are critical in determining data (in)homogeneities and representativeness. The use of such ancillary data (including such details as station relocation, elevational differences etc.), while crucial, is hindered by the fact that no organized station histories were kept until the late 1800s. Part of the data recovery programs of the CDMP are devoted to “discovering” this ancillary information about individual stations using a variety of sources (such as the original observer forms). The information is then compiled into a coherent set of metadata suitable for ingesting into the official station history databases maintained by the states, the regions and the National Climatic Data Center. This paper will document the findings and results of a joint effort to develop and document these station histories.

extended abstract  Extended Abstract (1.3M)

Poster Session 1, Climate Products and Data Sets
Monday, 12 January 2004, 2:30 PM-4:00 PM, Hall AB

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