Contact: John Kyle FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(970) 243-7007 October 11, 2011
National Weather Service Honors Paonia Volunteer Weather Observer
For Outstanding Contributions over 38 Years
Recognizing 38 years of dedication, NOAA’s National Weather Service has named Paonia, Colorado, resident Robert Lund as a 2011 recipient of the agency’s Thomas Jefferson Award for outstanding service in the Cooperative Weather Observer program. The award is the agency’s most prestigious, and only five are presented this year to deserving cooperative weather observers from around the country.
Mr. Robert Lund
“Cooperative observers are the bedrock of weather data collection and analysis,” said Doug Crowley, Meteorologist In Charge of NOAA’s Grand Junction National Weather Service office. “Numerous technological breakthroughs have brought great benefits to the Nation in terms of better forecasts and warnings. But without the century-long accumulation of accurate weather observations taken by volunteer observers, scientists could not begin to adequately describe the climate of the United States. We cannot thank Mr. Lund enough for his/her years of service to America.”
Crowley will present the award on October 14, during a Farm Bureau annual meeting starting at 5:30 pm at the Delta county fairgrounds in Hotchkiss. Cooperative observer managers John Kyle and Becky Klenk of the Grand Junction office nominated Mr. Lund for the award.
The National Weather Service’s Cooperative Weather Observer Program is a unique partnership between the National Weather Service and citizen volunteers in every U.S. state and territory. The cooperative observer program has given scientists and researchers continuous observational data since the program’s inception in 1890. Today, some 11,000 volunteer observers participate in the nationwide program to provide daily reports on temperature, precipitation and other weather factors such as snow depth, river levels and soil temperature.
Lund, 88, assumed the Paonia observing site on October 3, 1973, recording daily temperature and precipitation data, including snowfall and snow depth, to the Grand Junction forecast office. His reports have provided important data to forecasters and hydrologists and climate scientists. Over the years, Mr. Lund has provided almost 14,000 daily reports to the National Weather Service.
Long and continuous records provide an accurate picture of a locale’s normal weather, and give climatologists and others a basis for predicting future trends. These data are invaluable for scientists studying floods, droughts and heat and cold waves. At the end of each month, observers mail their records to the National Climatic Data Center for publication in “Climatological Data” or “Hourly Precipitation Data.”
The first extensive network of cooperative stations was set up in the 1890s as a result of an 1890 act of Congress that established the U.S. Weather Bureau. Many of the stations have even longer histories. John Campanius Holm’s weather records, taken without benefit of instruments in 1644 and 1645, are the earliest known recorded observations in the United States.
Many historic figures have maintained weather records, including Benjamin Franklin, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson maintained an almost unbroken record of weather observations between 1776 and 1816, and Washington took weather observations just a few days before he died. The Jefferson and Holm awards are named for these weather observation pioneers.
On the Web:
NOAA’s National Weather Service: http://weather.gov
NOAA’s National Weather Service, Grand Junction: http://www.weather.gov/gjt
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