Monitoring the Weather – For More than 125 Years

By Sheila Foran for UConn Today

Steve Olsen ’85 (CANR) has both electronic data and historic paper records available for reference in his office. (Sheila Foran/UConn Photo)

Every day at 8 a.m. for the last 45,625 days (give or take a day or two), weather information at UConn’s Plant Research and Education Facility on Agronomy Road has been recorded and sent to the National Weather Service. That’s every day for 125 years. It’s a long time and a lot of data.

In recognition, the National Weather Service recently presented the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources with a 125 Year Honored Institution Award.

UConn is a participant in the National Weather Service Cooperative Observer Program (COOP), a weather and climate observing network with nearly 12,000 stations nationwide. Few if any of these sites can compare for length of service. UConn is the oldest of approximately 110 observation points in Connecticut, and certainly one of the oldest, if not the oldest, continually operating COOP site in the country.

Research Farm manager Steve Olsen ’85 (CANR), who began working at the farm in 1988, says that from the beginning in 1888, and even when he first came to work at the farm, all information was recorded by hand and then mailed to the National Weather Service. In 1992, the University purchased a Campbell Scientific Weather Station that records temperature data every 15 seconds and then averages it in half-hour segments. “Now, I can sit at my desk and send off electronic data to the National Weather Service every morning,” says Olsen.

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