Cooperative Observer Program

Cooperative History | Types of Instuments | Observer Resources | Climatological Links | Observer Newsletters
COOP History

The Cooperative Observers Climatological Network was created in 1880. The program is currently administered by the National Weather Service, a line office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency within the Department of Commerce. One of the responsibilities of the National Weather Service is to take meteorological observations which are used to record the climate of the United States. The National Weather Service relies heavily on a vast network of cooperative observer volunteers to achieve this objective.

The National Weather Service determines where observations are needed and furnishes standard meteorological instruments to individuals who volunteer their time to take and record daily observations of the weather. Currently, there are about 8000 published volunteer observing stations located in the United States and its territories. In addition to the thousands of cooperative observation stations operated by individuals, many are maintained by institutions and commerical firms such as universities and utility companies. All cooperative observers submit a monthly report summarizing daily weather observations. These contributions to the climate record of the United States are invaluable.

What is the NWS Cooperative Observer Program?
How Do I Become a Cooperative Observer?

Map of Pleasant Hill Observer Network

Introducing WxCoder 3



Types of Instruments Observers Use
Max/Min temperature sensor (MMTS): This unit measures the temperature outside and keeps track of the daily maximum and minimum temperature for the day. Cotton Region Shelter: This temperature shelter houses the maximum and minimum thermometers. This shelter is gradually being phased out in favor of the MMTS. The shelter will remain the source for high and low temperatures for stations that currently use them to keep some continuity to their records. 8 inch rain gauge: This piece of equipment consists of one 8 inch in diameter metal cylinder, along with a smaller width plastic cylinder that is placed inside of that. A funnel is then placed on top of the metal cylinder and any precipitation that falls is then funneled into the smaller cylinder and can then be measured from there for the daily or 24 hour total. This inner plastic tubing cannot be used during the winter. Punch Tape Gauge: This is another and much larger precipitation recorder. It is an incased piece of equipment that had a large opening on top to collect the precipitation. The precipitation falls into a bucket which sits on a scale. A punch tape then records, through a series of punches, the amount of the precipitation that has fallen over a period of time. This tape gets changed every month and sent in to the weather service. This is a year-round recording device.
Observer Resources Cooperative Data

Training Materials and Handbooks
Coop Program Forms (B-91) (B-92)
NWS Training Observer Program Course
NWS Snow Measurement Guidelines
Heat Index Chart
Wind Chill Chart
Wind Speed Chart (Knots-->MPH-->M/S)
24hr Cooperative Observer Roundup
24hr Cooperative Observer Plots
National Climatic Data Center
Kansas Cooperative Station Data
Missouri Cooperative Station Data
National and Local Newsletters

Fall 2008 Edition: Cooperative Observer Newsletter
Past editions of Cooperative Newsletter
•Cooperative Award Winners Gallery: 2002, 2003, 2004
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Cooperative Observer Program Modernization
New England COOP Modernization Project
Program Development Plan for COOP Modernization is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.