Recognizing more than 27 years of dedication, NOAA’s National Weather Service has named Spencer, Ind., resident Shelley Edwards as a 2010 recipient of the agency’s John Campanius Holm Award for outstanding service in the Cooperative Weather Observer program. The award is the agency’s second-most prestigious and only 25 are presented each year to deserving cooperative weather observers from around the country.
“Cooperative observers are the bedrock of weather data collection and analysis,” said Dan McCarthy, meteorologist in charge of NOAA’s Indianapolis 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. Edwards enough for his years of service to America.”
McCarthy presented the award at 1p.m. Thursday October 28th during a ceremony at the Spencer Municipal Building, 90 N. West St. Spencer IN. Observing program leader Ed Terrell nominated Edwards for the award.
Shelley Edwards (second from left) with his Holm Award, surrounded (l-r) by Dan McCarthy, Ed Terrell, and Al Shipe of the Indianapolis National Weather Service
Photo by Brad Herold
The National Weather Service’s Cooperative Weather Observer Program has given scientists and researchers continuous observational data since the program’s inception more than a century ago. Today, some 10,200 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.
Cooperative weather records have been taken at Spencer since 1946. Edwards, joined the program July 1, 1983, reporting daily temperature and precipitation data, including snowfall and snow depth and river stage readings of the White River. The daily data are transmitted via the Internet to the NWS at Indianapolis and to the National Climate Data Center (NCDC) in Ashville North Carolina for archiving and publication. The daily data helps the NWS in their forecast and warning programs and the archived data at NCDC has a wide range of social, economical and political uses including: water resources and management, engineering and design, construction, recreation, litigation, insurance, forensics, public utilities, transportation, manufacturing, agricultural, drought mitigation, communications and financial programs.
Over the years, Edwards has provided more than 9,800 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.
The first extensive network of cooperative stations was set up in the 1890s as a result of an 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.