Cooperative weather observers, conscientiously commit their time and devotion to provide the nation with daily climatic weather data. This information is vital statistics, used to define and historically chronicle, our nation's climate! The pervading global warming theories and the American annual climatological changes are both based on this specific information.

Cooperative weather observers are civic minded volunteers are also recording and preserving a documented scientific account of diurnal elements of the atmosphere. The information is retained, for all-time, at the National Climatic Data Center on both monthly and annual basis. Their signatured observation records are historically maintained, directly alongside those of earlier records provided by Found Fathers Washington, Jefferson and Ben Franklin, a few well known former Cooperative Observers.

The type of data recorded will vary at different selected sites. For instance, in lieu of transcribing the data, some are asked to telephone the information, toll free on specially designed telephones, into the local weather office once a day. These type reports can be precipitation only, and only necessary after any days which rain or snow fell.

More common, however, are volunteer observers who manually record precipitation, maximum and minimum temperatures, once daily, between the hours of 6 to 8 A.M. Your National Weather Service office inputs the measurements into computer models which allows us to maintain constant vigil on soil saturation and combine it with hydrological inflow into regional rivers and streams. Very pertinent information to gauge "flood potential" prior to and during the onset of significant rain events. This assists our forecasters in issuing early flood warnings for area residents in harm's way.

The data also provides...research information for other scientific and service communities, calculation figures for industrialists, it is very pertinent statistics for agriculturists, cost productive data for builders to assists in determining adequate insulation, and many, many more comprehensible uses.

All of the weather instruments and equipment required to record this data is contributed, installed and maintained by an assigned Cooperative Weather Program Manager. Stamps, envelopes and any other mailing material are also provided, to include the appropriate official weather recording forms.

Volunteer weather observers comes from all walks of life...professional laypersons, homemakers, farmers, universities, law enforcement and municipalities, national park and recreational facilities, retirees and even other government agencies.

For this data to be research beneficial, we would like for potential volunteers to be well settled with consideration to maintaining residence for an extended period of time.

INTERESTED in becoming a Cooperative Weather Observer???

  • Visit our training facility to look at the equipment used.
  • Contact your local weather office personnel:

         James Bunker, Observing Program Leader    

         National Weather Service Forecast Office
         732 Woodlane Road
         Mount Holly, New Jersey 08060

Hope to hear from you...soon!!!


the internal operations for any National Weather Service Office, begins with weather data. This includes all forecasts, storm analysis, flood potential models, aviation projections, long term climate studies and further conclusions. "Weather Data" is the life-blood of the National Weather Service. Below are a few exceptional samples of the significance for COOPERATIVE WEATHER DATA.

1 - 1 GLOBAL WARMING NOW A FACT...make that "slight" warming!

Based on land and ocean surface temperatures, 1997 was the warmest year of this century. A team of scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Climatic Data Center analyzed temperatures from around the globe from 1900 to 1997...and land areas from 1880 to 1997. The Cooperative Observer Network was, basically, the source for much of the U.S. data. In 1997, land and ocean temperatures were found to average three-quarters of a degree Fahrenheit above normal (normal defined as 61.7F). This was 0.15 degrees F higher than the previous record warm year, 1990. The record-breaking warm conditions in 1997 continues to show a general pattern of warming global temperatures. The 10 warmest years on record have all occurred since 1980, with the warmest five years occurring since 1990. Your data, factored in, "proved" global temperature warming trends of 1 degree F "increase", every 100 years!

1 - 2 COOPERATIVE DATA GOES TO COURT ...wins historic lawsuits!

Data from the Cooperative Observer Network can make or break a lawsuit. At times, the disposition of millions of dollars hangs on a few small data points, as in these examples below:

  • •Monthly Cooperative precipitation totals were the keys to determining the outcome of a $2 billion lawsuit brought by several southwest Indian tribes concerning the over-grazing of reservation rangeland.
  • •Total storm rainfall amounts, and associated short-duration intensities, reported by Cooperative Weather stations provided the basic information used by engineers and meteorological consultants to assist the courts in determining the reasons and legal responsibilities for the washout of a major bridge span in Puerto Rico. This incident, resulted in 27 deaths, and a $65 million lawsuit.
  • •The dispensation of $500 million in federal drought insurance was decided by precipitation records from Cooperative Weather stations during the 1988 drought in the Midwest. In one case, $6 million was paid to a farmer on the basis of records submitted from just "one" Cooperative weather station!

1 - 3 LONGEVITY COOPERATIVE WEATHER DATA...a vibrant segment of American history!

Of the 12,000 Cooperative Stations nationwide, 5,000 are used as climate stations ("A" stations). A whopping 1,200 of those in the continental United States comprise the Historical Climate Network (HCN). An HCN station is defined as a location that has provided at least 80 years of "high-quality" data in a stable environment. HCN is the "elite" of the A stations. Their records stretches from the 1880s to present, listing monthly maximum/minimum temperatures (based on average daily maximum/minimum values), average temperatures and precipitation. The HCN, and others in the Coop Network, is a proven, fundamentally "irreplaceable", national resource!