New National Weather Service Coop Station in North Conway
North Conway, NH—October 2015—The nonprofit Mount Washington Observatory (MWO) in collaboration with the National Weather Service (NWS) is pleased to announce the launch of a new weather station (NCON3) in downtown North Conway near the Weather Discovery Center (WDC) and the John Fuller School Property as part of NWS Cooperative Observer Program (COOP).
The NWS COOP consists of over 8,700 volunteer observers nationwide who do temperature and precipitation observations daily. The data is entered into the National Center for Environmental Information (NCEI) database and is transmitted to the local NWS office within 5 minutes. The volunteer observing program started officially in 1890 due to the passing of the Organic Act, but daily weather observations date back to Colonial Days including observers such as Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin. COOP observations are very valuable to NWS forecasters as well as climatologists especially during extreme weather events when observers provide updates and ground truth checks to computer models and weather radar. COOPs are not typically certified weather observers, but partake in an official training and are considered “citizen scientists”.
The Observing Program Leader, Nikki Becker, from the NWS office in Gray, ME who is responsible for the COOP sites in this area said, “I am honored to continue this station in North Conway that was started by Joe Dodge* in 1959. It is the longevity as stations such as this one that allow scientists the opportunity to learn about our climate and climate change.”
The NCON3 project was initiated by MWO Special Projects Vice President Ed Bergeron, who housed a COOP station at his residence for the past 12 years. Bergeron felt that moving it into this more central location would create both educational and scientific opportunities.
“The new location in North Conway will give MWO scientists an opportunity to analyze Mount Washington Valley climate records, which although not as extensive as the summit, may be more significant in studying trends related to climate change as well as providing comparisons with the summit record,” said Bergeron. “And equally as important to provide educational outreach with a real weather station as an extension of the WDC and to provide an opportunity for MWO to partner with local schools and “citizen scientists” who are interested in our work and may be interested in helping out by doing real weather observations.”
The COOP station is outfitted with several weather instruments: NWS precipitation gage, snow stake, temperature sensor system and snow board; RainWise MK III LR; CoCoRaHS rain gage; RM Young Anemometer. RainWise Incorporated of Trenton, Maine, donated their top of the line automatic weather station that automatically downloads temperature, precipitation, wind, barometric pressure and relative humidity data every two minutes to their website www.rainwise.net/weather/wdc.
The John Fuller School will use the CoCoRaHS rain gage as a part of their Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education programs. “Principal Danielle Nutting is very excited to partner with Mount Washington Observatory to learn more about weather and in extending their STEM programs,” said Bergeron.
The project was funded by grants received from New Hampshire Electric Co-Op Foundation, The McIninch Foundation and the Woodard Curran Foundation.
*Joe Dodge was one of the four founders of MWO re-establishing the mountaintop station on October 15, 1932 along with Bob Monahan, Sal Pagliuca & Alex MacKenzie.
About Mount Washington Observatory
Mount Washington Observatory is a private, nonprofit, member-supported institution with a mission to advance understanding of the natural systems that create the Earth's weather and climate. Since 1932, the Observatory has been monitoring the elements from its weather station on the summit of Mount Washington, using this unique site for scientific research and educational outreach. For more information, call (800) 706-0432 or visit MountWashington.org.