ESRL Global Systems Division

Weather Watchers, MADIS, and CWOP Featured in New York Times Article

Headlined on the front page of the Circuits Technology section of the December 30, 2004 New York Times is "Rain or Shine, Hobbyists with Personal Weather Stations are Helping Professionals Make Better Forecasts." Inside the cover is an article "Hobbyists Fill Out the Weather Map" featuring an avid weather watcher from Broomfield, CO who posts live readings from his backyard weather station online. The important weather information available from a growing group of private citizens has long been of interest to the NOAA Forecast Systems Laboratory (FSL). As a result, FSL has developed the Meteorological Assimilation Data Ingest System (MADIS) to quality control this weather information collected from varied sources and make it accessible online for anyone's use. FSL has also been very active in the establishment of the Citizen Weather Observer Program (CWOP), an association of weather watchers who collect information, share it online, and forward it to MADIS.

The Times article stresses that ordinary people from many different walks of life can purchase, install, and operate a weather station in their back yard and send their data to weather professionals who use that information to improve forecasts and weather warnings for the general public. Information from personal weather data stations registered with the CWOP observer program makes its way to the National Weather Service forecast offices, the Kennedy Space Center, National Center for Atmospheric Research, and university research programs, among other destinations. "The data goes to 80 percent of the weather forecast offices in the U.S," said Russ Chadwick, senior engineer at FSL and volunteer administrator of CWOP. Dr. Chadwick works closely with colleagues such as NWS headquarters scientist David Helms and NWS warning coordination meteorologist James Scarlett, both quoted in the Times article, who serve as liaisons between the scientific community and the amateur weather observers around the country.

Check the CWOP News page for links to the New York Times article and to find more information about weather watching, CWOP, and MADIS.

Contact information
Name: Russell B Chadwick
Tel: 303-497-6318