31 Appendix C. Factors in operating a weather/climate network

Weather and Climate Inventory, Klamath Network, National Park Service, 2007

Appendix C. Factors in operating a weather/climate network

 C.1. Climate versus Weather

  • Climate measurements require consistency through time.

C.2. Network Purpose

  • Anticipated or desired lifetime.
  • Breadth of network mission (commitment by needed constituency).
  • Dedicated constituency—no network survives without a dedicated constituency.

C.3. Site Identification and Selection

  • Spanning gradients in climate or biomes with transects.
  • Issues regarding representative spatial scale—site uniformity versus site clustering.
  • Alignment with and contribution to network mission.
  • Exposure—ability to measure representative quantities.
  • Logistics—ability to service station (Always or only in favorable weather?).
  • Site redundancy (positive for quality control, negative for extra resources).
  • Power—is AC needed?
  • Site security—is protection from vandalism needed?
  • Permitting often a major impediment and usually underestimated.

C.4. Station Hardware

  • Survival—weather is the main cause of lost weather/climate data.
  • Robustness of sensors—ability to measure and record in any condition.
  • Quality—distrusted records are worthless and a waste of time and money.
  • High quality—will cost up front but pays off later.
  • Low quality—may provide a lower start-up cost but will cost more later (low cost can be expensive).
  • Redundancy—backup if sensors malfunction.
  • Ice and snow—measurements are much more difficult than rain measurements.
  • Severe environments (expense is about two–three times greater than for stations in more benign settings).

C.5. Communications

  • Reliability—live data have a much larger constituency.
  • One-way or two-way.
  • Retrieval of missed transmissions.
  • Ability to reprogram data logger remotely.
  • Remote troubleshooting abilities.
  • Continuing versus one-time costs.
  • Back-up procedures to prevent data loss during communication outages.
  • Live communications increase problems but also increase value.