NOAA 2005-R204
Contact: Ron Trumbla
NOAA News Releases 2004
NOAA Home Page
NOAA Public Affairs


Recognizing 45 years of dedicated service, NOAA’s National Weather Service has named Pasamonte, N.M., resident Sam Britt as a 2004 recipient of the agency’s John Campanius Holm Award. This year's coveted Holm Award is being presented to 26 people who have performed exceptional volunteer service as weather observers. NOAA, 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 Brig. Gen. David L. Johnson, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), 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.”

Charlie Liles, meteorologist-in-charge of the NWS Albuquerque Weather Forecast Office, will present the award during a ceremony to be held January 20 at the Eklund Hotel in Clayton, N.M.

For more than four decades, Britt has consistently provided timely and accurate reports to the Albuquerque WFO. His reports are especially critical since he resides in a remote part of New Mexico where it would be difficult to get weather information. In addition to his daily reports, Britt frequently calls the WFO to alert forecasters of developing weather and is always available if they call about weather events in his area. Britt has also been quite active in serving his community with numerous public service positions that include terms as a Union County commissioner, School Board member and member of the County Historical Society.

The NWS Cooperative Weather Observer Program has given scientists and researchers continuous observational data since the program’s inception more than 100 years ago. Today, more than 11,000 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.

Weather records become more valuable with age. Long and continuous records provide an accurate picture of a locale’s normal weather, providing climatologists and others a basis for predicting future trends. 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.”

The earliest known recorded observations in the United States were made by John Campanius Holm in 1644 and 1645. 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.

The first extensive network of cooperative stations was set up in the 1890s as a result of an 1890 act of Congress that established the U.S. Weather Bureau.

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:


NOAA’s National Weather Service:

NWS Southern Region: