News Releases 2004
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MOTHER, DAUGHTER HONORED
Recognizing almost 29 years of service to America, NOAA’s National Weather Service has named Wakeeney, Kan., residents Rose Doxon and Mary Cunningham as 2004 recipients of the agency’s John Campanius Holm Award for outstanding service in the Cooperative Weather Observer Program. The award is the agency’s second most prestigious and only 25 are presented each year nationwide. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
“Cooperative observers are the bedrock of weather data collection and analysis,” said retired Brig. Gen. David L. Johnson, director of NOAA’s National Weather Service. “Satellites, high-speed computers, mathematical models and other technological breakthroughs have brought great benefits to the Nation in terms of better forecasts and warnings. But, without the century-long accumulation of accurate weather observations taken by volunteer observers, scientists could not begin to adequately describe the climate of the United States. We cannot thank Mrs. Doxon and Mrs. Cunningham enough for their years of service to America.”
Larry Ruthi, meteorologist in charge, and John Orgler, program manager, of NOAA’s Dodge City Weather Forecast Office, and Bob Bonack, NWS regional manager, will present the award during an 11:30 a.m. ceremony on August 17 at Cunningham’s home. Orgler nominated the mother and daughter team for the award.
The NWS Cooperative Weather Observer Program has given scientists and researchers continuous observational data since the program’s inception more than a century ago. Today, some 11,700 volunteer observers participate in the nationwide program to provide daily reports on temperature, precipitation and other weather factors such as snow depth, river levels and soil temperature.
Doxon established the Wakeeney observing station Dec. 3, 1975. Cunningham took over the duties of recording precipitation and temperature data in December 1999. The duo also serves as storm spotters for developing severe weather.
Weather records retain their importance as time goes by. Long and continuous records provide an accurate picture of a locale’s normal weather, and give climatologists and others a basis for predicting future trends. These data are invaluable for scientists studying floods, droughts and heat and cold waves. At the end of each month, observers mail their records to the National Climatic Data Center for publication in “Climatological Data” or “Hourly Precipitation Data,” both published by the NCDC.
The first extensive network of cooperative stations was set up as part of the newly established U.S. Weather Bureau, created in an 1890 Act of Congress. Many of the stations have even longer histories. The award is named after John Campanius Holm’s, whose weather records, taken without benefit of instruments in 1644 and 1645, were the earliest known recorded observations in the United States.
Many historic figures have also maintained weather records, including Benjamin Franklin, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson maintained an almost unbroken record of weather observations between 1776 and 1816, and Washington took weather observations just a few days before he died.
NOAA’s National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. NOAA’s National Weather Service operates the most advanced weather and flood warning and forecast system in the world, helping to protect lives and property and enhance the national economy.
NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather- and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the Nation’s coastal and marine resources.
On the Web:
National Weather Service: http://www.nws.noaa.gov
Cooperative Observer Program: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/coop/index.htm