A Cooperative (Co-Op) Observer is currently needed in the following location:
If you are interested in becoming a cooperative weather observer, please contact Rudy Schaar at Rudy.Schaar@noaa.gov or 262-965-5061 ext. 327.
What is the job of a Co-Op observer?
Being a NWS Co-Operative observer can be a demanding job. To provide accurate and complete weather data, observations are required seven days a week, 365 days a year. This does not mean that someone has to be monitoring the "weather" all the time; instruments are provided to monitor temperature and precipitation. However, someone should be available to record the daily maximum and minimum temperature, the precipitation, and snowfall. This generally is done around 7am, but observation times can be shifted to fit the observers schedule.
This information is recorded in a simple web site called WXCODER. This web site transmits the data promptly to NWS and also serves as an automated record keeping system. At the end of each month, someone from the local NWS office checks the data for quality assurance before forwarding to the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) in Asheville, North Carolina.
What equipment do I use?
The placement and type of Cooperative Weather Observers is determined by the NCDC and the local NWS office. Generally cooperative stations are evenly spaced in relatively flat terrain (more than 30 miles apart) but may be closer together in hilly terrain or under special circumstances.
Personnel from the NWS will deliver, set up and maintain the necessary equipment. Typically, the Co-Op station consists of a set of Maximum/Minimum thermometers or a Max/Min Temperature System (MMTS) and a 8 inch stainless steel rain gauge. Precipitation is measured by placing a calibrated stick into the tube, seeing where the water marks the stick and recording the data.
At the end of each month, the charts are forwarded to the NWS office in the Twin Cities for quality assurance, then forwarded to NCDC.
For more information on the instrumentation used, check out the Instrument page.
What kind of training is involved?
Training consists of on site, hands on instruction with the designated Co-Op Observer and their backup. This usually is done the same day as the equipment is installed and takes about one hour. If necessary, additional training may be provided upon request. Basic equipment maintenance is discussed and the Co-Op observer is provided with a name ("point of contact") and a number should additional questions or problems arise.
Additional training material can be found on the Instructional Material page.
If you have additional questions, please call (or e-mail) Rudy Schaar at 262-965-5061 ext. 327 or Rudy.Schaar@noaa.gov Rudy is the Data Acquisition Program Manager for the National Weather Service in Sullivan, WI