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Quality Control and Processing of Cooperative Observer Program Hourly Precipitation Data

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  • 1 NOAA/National Centers for Environmental Information, Asheville, North Carolina
  • | 2 Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California
  • | 3 Cooperative Institute for Satellite Earth System Studies, North Carolina State University, Asheville, North Carolina
  • | 4 Riverside Technology Inc. at NOAA/NCEI, Asheville, North Carolina
  • | 5 NOAA/National Weather Service/Surface and Upper Air Division, College Park, Maryland
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Abstract

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has operated a network of Fischer & Porter gauges providing hourly and subhourly precipitation observations as part of the U.S. Cooperative Observer Program since the middle of the twentieth century. A transition from punched paper recording to digital recording was completed by NOAA’s National Weather Service in 2013. Subsequently, NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) upgraded its quality assurance and data stewardship processes to accommodate the new digital record, better assure the quality of the data, and improve the timeliness by which hourly precipitation observations are made available to the user community. Automated methods for removing noise, detecting diurnal variations, and identifying malfunctioning gauges are described along with quality control algorithms that are applied on hourly and daily time scales. The quality of the hourly observations during the digital era is verified by comparison with hourly observations from the U.S. Climate Reference Network and summary of the day precipitation totals from the Global Historical Climatology Network dataset.

Corresponding author: Jay Lawrimore, jay.lawrimore@noaa.gov

Abstract

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has operated a network of Fischer & Porter gauges providing hourly and subhourly precipitation observations as part of the U.S. Cooperative Observer Program since the middle of the twentieth century. A transition from punched paper recording to digital recording was completed by NOAA’s National Weather Service in 2013. Subsequently, NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) upgraded its quality assurance and data stewardship processes to accommodate the new digital record, better assure the quality of the data, and improve the timeliness by which hourly precipitation observations are made available to the user community. Automated methods for removing noise, detecting diurnal variations, and identifying malfunctioning gauges are described along with quality control algorithms that are applied on hourly and daily time scales. The quality of the hourly observations during the digital era is verified by comparison with hourly observations from the U.S. Climate Reference Network and summary of the day precipitation totals from the Global Historical Climatology Network dataset.

Corresponding author: Jay Lawrimore, jay.lawrimore@noaa.gov
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