We’re all familiar with the weather – we have to live and deal with day-to-day temperature changes, remember to bring our umbrellas if it’s going to rain, and take shelter when a severe storm is approaching. Climate, on the other hand, is the average weather that a location experiences over many years. Researchers at ATDD work to observe and record long-term climate changes with extreme precision and accuracy.

Climate Networks

The lack of high quality surface measurements of precipitation and air temperature historically has hampered the ability of climate scientists to fully characterize U. S. national and regional climate signals with confidence. High precision climate monitoring networks installed and operated by ATDD provide the U. S. with a benchmark observing system for real-time measurements of air temperature and precipitation that meets national commitments to monitor the climate of the U.S. for the next 50–100 years.
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Snow Measurements

Precipitation measurements of snow are subject to large errors, especially in cold and windy conditions. These errors are dependent on the weather, the shielding surrounding the precipitation sensor, and the type of sensor used to measure precipitation. Using measurements from around the world, corrections are being developed by ATDD researchers that can be used to estimate the actual amount of precipitation for the most prevalent precipitation gauges used within the U.S. and abroad.
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Surface Energy Balance Network

The NOAA/ATDD Surface Energy Balance Network (SEBN) supports NOAA’s mission of providing high-value routine measurements of surface energy, water and carbon budgets along with other climate variables in regional vegetation systems across the continental United States. Data from SEBN can be used to improve land surface model parameterizations in computer models of weather and climate and improve our understanding of the critical land surface processes that control seasonal and annual water and carbon budgets for various ecosystem types.
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Site in Denali National Park, Alaska

Site in Denali National Park, Alaska


Aerial view of Marshall Precipitation Measurement Test Bed near Boulder, Colorado

Aerial view of the joint
National Center for Atmospheric Research/NOAA
precipitation measurement testbed near Boulder, CO.


Wind tunnel test of precipitation gauge

Wind tunnel measurements show how the flow of wind over the mouth of a precipitation gauge may impact the instrument’s capture of light rain or snow.