87th AMS Annual Meeting

Monday, 15 January 2007: 11:30 AM
The development of GeoProfiles for United States Historical Climatology Network stations in Kentucky
206A (Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center)
Stuart A. Foster, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, KY; and R. Mahmood and A. Littell
Increased attention in the media and by policymakers on climate variability and change has highlighted the need for historically representative climatological data. The United State Historical Climatology Network (USHCN) is a preferred source of station data for analyzing patterns of variability and change. Recently, USHCN sites have been targeted as part of a scaled-back effort to modernize NOAA's aging cooperative observer network. Decisions regarding the location of instrumentation as part of modernized USHCN stations will benefit from a better understanding of the physical site characteristics of existing USHCN stations. In addition, better documentation of local topography and land use will aid in the interpretation of the existing climatological record.

The Kentucky Climate Center's GeoProfiles Initiative provides a framework to document enhanced spatial metadata for climate monitoring stations using a geographic information systems (GIS) framework. Previous work has demonstrated the value of GeoProfiles as an aid to interpreting climatological observations. This paper summarizes the development of GeoProfiles for stations in Kentucky that are part of the USHCN. Site visits are made to collect images of the instrument exposure and the precise location of each HCN station located in Kentucky. This information is then incorporated into a GIS along with digital orthophotographs and a digital elevation model to construct a GeoProfile of each station. Comparative climatological summaries are then presented as an indication of potential observation biases associated with the physical site characteristics and exposure of instrumentation at individual USHCN stations.

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