News Releases 2004
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Recognizing 20 years of service to America, NOAA’s National Weather Service has named Wahiawa resident Robert “Wayne” Jones a 2004 recipient 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. NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
“Cooperative observers are the bedrock of weather data collection and analysis,” said retired Air Force Brig. Gen. David L. Johnson, director of NOAA’s National Weather Service. “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 Mr. Jones enough for his years of service to America.”
Jim Weyman, meteorologist-in-charge at the NWS Weather Forecast Office in Honolulu, will present the award to Jones during a winter weather workshop on October 12. “We are pleased to recognize Wayne Jones as one of the nation’s top cooperative weather observers,” Weyman said. “ For 20 years, his accurate and timely weather reports have played a critical role in defining the climate and rainfall patterns of Oahu and supported the National Weather Service forecasting and warning programs in the Hawaiian Islands.”
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.
Jones was under contract to the National Weather Service as a satellite technician when he became a volunteer weather observer in 1983. Later he helped establish the National Weather Service SkyWarn Program in Hawaii in which volunteers called “spotters” are trained to recognize and report severe weather events.
Jones served as communications officer at Oahu Civil Defense from 1994-1999 and was the acting director when he retired in 2002. “His primary duty was emergency communications but it quickly became evident that his true love was in the field meteorology,” said John Cummings, education and outreach officer at Oahu Civil Defense. “His meticulous attention to record keeping was documented in the many statistical rainfall logs that he kept current on a daily basis. As director, he made it his mission to ensure that the agency and the City and County of Honolulu maintained an excellent working relationship with NOAA, the Central Pacific Hurricane Center, and our numerous local television meteorologists. It was a pleasure to work with him and all of us at Oahu Civil Defense congratulate him on his award.”
Active in community affairs, Jones is the current chairman for the Aloha Festival Parade and is involved in the annual Kaimuki Christmas Parade. He recently completed the annual March of Dimes Walk-A-Thon. He volunteers with the State Search and Rescue Team, is a member of an amateur radio club, and is working to establish an emergency communication program for the Wahiawa General Hospital.
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 formed 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, 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
Observer Program: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/coop/index.htm