NOAA’s U.S. Climate Reference Network (CRN) Fully Deployed

ARL is expecting to deploy the last of the 114 continental United States stations of the U. S. Climate Reference Network (USCRN) by August 13. The final station will be installed at the Coal Oil Point Reserve, Marine Science Institute, University of California/Santa Barbara. All of the stations are strategically located away from urban and suburban influences to avoid any possible misinterpretation of changes observed. Scientists and engineers with ARL’s Atmospheric Turbulence and Diffusion Division (ATDD) in Oak Ridge, TN provide engineering design and measurement capabilities and expertise for the USCRN stations. ATDD provides routine maintenance visits to the USCRN sites and regular calibration of the sensors. This work is done in support of NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, which implements and manages the USCRN Program.

The USCRN provides the U.S. with a climate-quality benchmark observing system for real-time measurements of air temperature and precipitation that meets national commitments to monitor the climate of the United States for the next 50 – 100 years. The USCRN reports multiple observations per hour. This temporal resolution of the data provides additional climate information such as precipitation intensity and duration of extreme events. The USCRN provides anchor points for the U.S. Historical Climate Network and state operated mesonets. Installation of USCRN stations began in 2001.

The lack of high quality surface measurements of precipitation and air temperature historically has hampered the ability of climate scientists to fully characterize the national and regional climate signals with confidence. The USCRN gives the Nation a first-class observing network and serves as a benchmark for climate monitoring, including highly accurate instrumentation with redundant systems to minimize data gaps. The USCRN network also provides a platform of opportunity to add additional sensors (i.e., soil moisture, soil temperature, relative humidity, wind, pressure) for future climate monitoring activities.