For the past 100 years, a mostly volunteer group of observers has formed the backbone of the U.S. National Weather Service (NWS) Cooperative (CO-OP) network. These stations have provided most of the observations used to satisfy the Department of Commerce's statutory mandate of 1890... “to establish and record the climatic conditions of the United States” (15 USCA 313). Originally, this network was intended primarily for agriculture, but many other uses of the data have since emerged, such as the climatic planning of weather sensitive activities, input to engineering design studies, and input and verification for weather and river forecasts. In recent years, heightened awareness regarding climatic change and variability has challenged this network with yet another mission: the monitoring and detection of climate change. While not designed for that mission, the CO-OP network has proved useful in this respect. However, with some changes in operation, it could become even more valuable in monitoring for climatic change, and could do so in a most economical way. Similar practices instituted worldwide will be necessary for comprehensive study of climate change to the degrees of detail necessary to address specific policy issues and practical local-scale decision making.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Adami, A. and Da Deppo, L.: 1986, ‘On the Systematic Errors of Tipping Bucket Recording Rain Gauges’, Correction of Precipitation Measurements, Geographisches Institut, Universität Zürich-Iorchel, CH-8057 Zürich, Switzerland.
Barnett, T. R: 1986, ‘Detection of Changes in Global Tropospheric Temperature Field Induced by Greenhouse Gases’, J. Geophys. Res. 91, 6659–6667.
Barnett, T. P. and Schlesinger, M. E.: 1987, ‘Detecting Changes in Global Climate Induced by Greenhouse Gases’, J. Geophys. Res. 14772–14780.
Bretherton, F. P.: 1986, ‘Introduction: The Oceans, Climate, and Technology’, Oceanus 29, 2–8.
Cayan, D. R. and Douglas, A. V.: 1984, ‘Urban Influences on Surface Temperatures in the Southwestern United States During Recent Decades’, J. Clim. Appl. Meteor. pp. 1520–1530.
Ferreira, V. A. and Smith, R. E.: 1986, ‘Precipitation Measurement: A Question of Scale’, Proceedings of the Sixth Annual AGU Front Range Branch, Hydrology Days, 1005 Country Club Rd., Fort Collins, CO, 80524, pp. 37–45.
Jones, P. D., Wigley, T. M. L., and Wright, P. B.: 1987, ‘Global Mean Temperatures, 1861–1984’, Nature 322, 430–434.
Karl, T. R., Williams, C. N., Jr., Young, P. J., and Wendland, W. M.: 1986, ‘A Model to Estimate the Time of Observation Bias Associated with Monthly Mean Maximum, Minimum, and Mean Temperature for the United States’, J. Clim. Appl. Meteor. 25, pp. 145–160.
Karl, T. R., Diaz, H. F., and Kukla, G.: 1988, ‘Urbanization: Its Detection in the U.S. Climate Record’, J. Clim. (in press).
Karl, T. R. and Williams, C. N. Jr.: 1987, ‘An Approach to Adjusting Climatological Time Series for Discontinuous Inhomogeneities’, J. Clim. Appl. Meteor. 1744–1763.
Karl, T. R.: 1988, ‘Multi-year Fluctuations of Temperature and Precipitation: The Gray Area of Climatic Change’, Climatic Change 12, No. 2, 179–197.
Kukla, G., Gavin, J., and Karl, T. R.: 1986, ‘Urban Warming’, J. Clim. Appl. Meteor. 25, 1265–1270.
McNab, A.: 1986, Personal Communication. Branch Chief, Cooperative Data Branch, National Climatic Data Center, NOAA.
Milkovic, J.: 1986, ‘A Comparison of Data Obtained by Recording and Non-recording Rain Gauges’, Correction of Precipitation Measurements, Geographisches Institut, Universität Zürich-Iorchel, CH-8057 Zürich, Switzerland.
Mitchell, J. M., Jr.: 1961, ‘The Measurement of Secular Temperature Change in the Eastern United States’, Research Paper No. 43 U.S. Weather Bureau, Washington, D.C.
National Academy of Sciences: 1986a, Global Changes in the Geosphere-Biosphere: Initial Priorities for an IGBP, U.S. Committee for an International Geosphere-Biosphere, National Academy Press, Washington, DC, 91 pp.
National Academy of Sciences: 1986b, Atmospheric Climate Data: Problems and Promises, Panel on Climate-Related Data, National Academy Press, Washington, DC, 88 pp.
Nelson, Wm. L., Dale, R. F., and Schaal, L. A.: 1979, ‘Non-climate Trends in Divisional and State Mean Temperatures: A Case Study in Indiana’, J. Appl. Meteor. 18, 750–760.
Potter, K. W.: 1981, ‘Illustration of a New Test for Detecting a Shift in Mean Precipitation Series’, Mon. Wea. Rev. 109, 2040–2045.
World Meteorological Organisation: 1986, Guidelines on the Selection of Reference Climatological Stations (RCSs) from the Existing Climatological Station Network, World Climate Programme-116, WMO/TD-No. 130, 12 pp.
About this article
Cite this article
Karl, T.R., Quayle, R.G. Climate change in fact and in theory: Are we collecting the facts?. Climatic Change 13, 5–17 (1988). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00140159
- Climate Change
- United States
- Decision Making
- Climatic Condition
- Engineering Design