2002 Annual

Monday, 14 January 2002: 2:30 PM
NOAA's surface weather observing networks
Thomas R. Karl, NOAA/NESDIS/NCDC, Asheville, NC; and W. M. Faas
The weather risk community places enormous value on the data it uses to settle and develop contracts for a variety of weather risk issues. Major concerns include the quality, continuity, biases, and timeliness associated with the data. At the present time, NOAA's First Order Stations data from a subset of the Automated Surface Observing System (ASOS) sites are a major source of data being used by the weather risk community. The strengths and weaknesses of these data will be reviewed along with other networks, such as the new network being implemented by NOAA, the Climate Reference Network (CRN) and an existing network that is being modernized, the Cooperative (Co-op) Observing Network.

For the weather risk community, none of the existing network data may be ideal, but there may be an optimal solution related to establishing a CRN for urban areas CRN (CRN-U). Such a network could leverage off the benchmark quality of the observations of the CRN, the security of both the ASOS and CRN station data, the real-time delivery of data from ASOS and the CRN, but be representative of those in areas where people live, like many stations in the Co-op network. Such a network could be deployed quickly, but one obstacle would remain. It would be important to develop a historical data set at each site that could be available to develop weather risk assessments. Analysis shows that for cumulative statistics, like heating and cooling degree days, this is likely to be achieved with high accuracy by using nearby Co-op and ASOS stations after a suitable period of overlapping observations (one to two years).

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