Dr Thunder Wonders

On the adventures (or non-adventures) of an weather guy

Saturday, November 04, 2006


At a meeting this past week in Reno a group of climatologists and agricultural met people from the western states came together to boast and to gripe about their activities. One of the biggest problems with meteorological and climate data is actually the LACK of data...not that I am underwhelmed by any means. However since most of the land west of the Mississippi is so varied in the terrain and topography, it to is bound to be varied in its climate, and consequential adaptations to climate (e.g., plants and animal species). It is pretty remarkable that while there are a number of high tech automated weather stations, a ton of data comes in every day by "normal folk who fancy the weather". The so-called COOP network is a climate observing network of, by and for the people whereby 11,000+ volunteers take observations where they live and work. A group at this meeting had recently deployed raingauges to willing participants in the middle part of the country through a program called cocorahs. This means that instead of having one sample of rainfall in say Kansas City, MO, there can be upwards to 50! Obviously some of the data can be pretty messed up since you rely on volunteers to enter in the data correctly for each day.
A more feasible option that I encourage homeowners to participate in in the National Phenology Network. Phenology is essentially the study of the cyclic behavior of plants or animals, for example the blooming of the flowers/leaves in the spring. This network is in its infancy, but its intentions are to distribute plants (lilacs and native species) to willing volunteers. These people can then contribute to the scientific community by noting dates of bloom and stuff to the website. Since plants are an integrator of climate, they themselves may serve as the best indicator of climate variations and change...afterall we are interested in these topics since they impact our surrounding and environment...ala plants. So, I encourage you to volunteer for this program as it is a minimal commitment, not requiring daily recordings.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi John, This is Nick from Glendale.
Your parents are hre, so Ill just say hello for now.

Sat Nov 11, 01:51:00 PM 2006  

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