The Cooperative Observer Program

The weather observers who make up the Cooperative Observering Program are a core of volunteers numbering over 11,000 people across the country. This all volunteer network of weather observers has become an American institution. The program and its history of success continue to arouse the envy of other countries around the globe and has been acclaimed as the most cost-effective weather data collection network in the world.

The Cooperative Observer Network operates basically as it did the first year of its inception over 100 years ago. This data has become more valuable with time as the data now forms the cornerstone of the Nation's climatological history.

Cooperative Weather Observers come from all walks of life. Farmers, teachers, lawyers, doctors, housewives, retirees, even power plants, water and pollution control plants, schools, as well as many local and state government offices are all among those contributing to the program.

The Cooperative Observing Program mission is two-fold. It provides daily maximum and minimum temperatures, 24 hour precipitation and snowfall totals and then provides this data in near real-time to support forecast, warning and other public service programs of the National Weather Service.

Equipment to gather this data is provided by the National Weather Service and maintained by the Cooperative Program Manager. The data forms are sent monthly to your local weather service office to be quailty controlled, and then are sent to the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, NC, where the data is then digitized and archived.

Becoming a NWS Cooperative Observer volunteer requires the following:

  1. Dedication to public service
  2. Attention to detail
  3. Ability to perform daily duties in all types of weather
  4. Willingness to allow the NWS to place instruments on your property and allow the Cooperative Program Manager access to that instrumentation
  5. It is also very useful to own a personal computer with a modem and have internet access.

If you are interested in becoming an Official Cooperative Weather Observer for your area, please contact the National Weather Service Office in White Lake at: w-dtx.webmaster@noaa.gov


USA.gov is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.