The United States Climate Reference Network (USCRN) is the first observing network designed and operated in the United States with the principal purpose of monitoring climate trends, variations and change. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Department of Commerce (DOC) support the network. When completed the climate network will consist of several hundred strategic sites from the arctic to the tropics. The network is designed to be highly stable, and to the best extent possible, be able to operate for the next 50 to 100 years. It is the vision of USCRN: “ To build a network that 50 years from now can, with the highest degree of confidence answer the question; How has the climate of the United States changed over the past 50 years?”
Each site is equipped with standard sensors, a data logger, and a satellite communications transmitter attached to a stand-alone 10 ft aluminum tower. Near each tower is located a weighing precipitation gauge and associated windshield. Precipitation data is recorded every 15 minutes, along with hourly observations, which are collected and stored in the data logger at each tower. Data are then transmitted via GOES satellite to the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) in Asheville, North Carolina.
Met One Instruments, sensors and aspirated temperature shields are used at each monitoring station. After tests were performed on a number of different aspirated shields, the Met One Instruments Model 076B provided the best estimate of temperature for solar radiation regimes between 400 W/m**2 and 1000 W/m**2. The Model 076B Aspirated Temperature Shield was selected and used in the deployment of each USCRN station. In addition to temperature measurement, the Model 014A Wind Speed Sensor was selected and used for the measurement of wind speed at each location. The Model 014A is a very rugged, reliable, and simple to maintain wind sensor that is used all around the world for the collection of precision wind measurements.
Each USCRN site consists of 3 Model 076B temperature shields, with DC motors and fan speed feedback, and a single Model 014A Temperature Sensor. Fan speeds are monitored to determine if there are any changes in flow as the systems ages, with additional sensors for intercomparison and redundancy.
Photo Source: NOAA / USCRN Documents.
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