Andrew Horvitz, NOAA/NWS/Office of Climate, Water, and Weather Services, Silver Spring, Maryland
The National Weather Service's proposed modernized Coop Network was originally conceived as part of an interagency plan to meet climate monitoring needs and repair and upgrade the existing network.
The first phase of Coop Network modernization is focused on replacing obsolete equipment and determining the optimum size of a national Coop Network. The NWS plans to replace paper tape punch mechanisms used in the network of 2,700 Fischer & Porter (F&P) rain gauges. The NWS also plans to replace 5,000 obsolete Maximum-Minimum Temperature Systems.
The modernized Coop Network will utilize approximately 8,000 sites equipped with temperature and precipitation sensors to provide the dense temperature and precipitation observations necessary to track climate variability at regional and local levels. One thousand sites in agriculturally-sensitive areas will be further equipped with soil moisture, temperature, and evaporation sensors to monitor drought and the water cycle. The high-density, real-time data will improve NOAA's ability to forecast short-term (24-hour to 2 weeks) temperature and precipitation, including floods. The network will also provide a new source of real-time information for exploitation by the private sector. (Corresponding e-mail: Andy.Horvitz@noaa.gov)