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The U.S. Climate Reference Network (USCRN) is a network of climate stations now being developed as part of a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) initiative. The primary goal of its implementation is to provide future long-term homogeneous observations of temperature and precipitation that can be coupled to past long-term observations for the detection and attribution of present and future climate change. Data from the USCRN will be used in operational climate monitoring activities and for placing current climate anomalies into an historical perspective. The USCRN will also provide the USA with a reference network that meets the requirements of the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS). If fully implemented, the network will consist of 114 official stations nationwide. Implementation of the USCRN is contingent on the availability of funding. To find out more information about the U.S. Climate Reference Network, please visit the National Climatic Data Center's website.

The USCRN records five parameters:

  • Air temperature is obtained through the use of a temperature probe placed inside a white-painted aspirated solar shield with a DC-powered fan to aid in the circulation of ambient air.
  • There are three temperature sensors and three shields at each USCRN site.Precipitation amount is recorded with a weighing bucket gauge. The precipitation and in the container is weighed with a sensor with a frequency output.
  • Wind speed is measured with a three-cup anemometer assembly with a magnet-reed switch, which produces contact closures whose frequency is proportional to wind speed.
  • An infrared thermometer obtains the surface temperature of the ground.
  • Solar radiation is monitored via a silicon pyranometer that measures solar radiation from the entire hemisphere.

All of the above devices are scanned every ten seconds and the data recorded on a Campbell Scientific, Inc. 23X datalogger. The CR23X is a multi-function user programmable precision measurement device that combines recording, processing and control capabilities in a single unit. All of the instruments except for the rain gauge, which is mounted on a two-inch diameter aluminum pipe, are mounted on a three-meter aluminum meteorological tower.

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