Observing Stations - NOAA / NWS
Both the first order and cooperative observation network are under the auspices of the National Weather Service (NWS), an agency within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
First order stations are those maintained professional by the NWS or the Federal Aviation Administration. In Alaska, there are 21 first order sites, all of which are located at airports except for the station in Valdez. During the 1990's the observing systems used by the NWS underwent a modernization process and a number of the manned weather stations were consolidated and the Automated Surface Observing System (ASOS) was introduced.

Cooperative stations are part of the U.S. Cooperative Observing Network. This represents a large network throughout the U.S. (numbering several thousand) in which volunteer observers are trained by the NWS to take temperature and/or precipitation observations. This network has quite a long history dating back to the 19th century. To find out more details or how to become an observer yourself, click here. Coop stations in Alaska number in the hundreds and have varying record lengths. For a closer look at these stations click here.

A subset of the coop network make up the U.S. Historical Climatology Network (USHCN). These are high-quality observations of monthly temeprature and precipitation that have the least amount of non-climate biases, such as station moves, changes in instrumentation, etc. with good data homogeneity. There are 47 USHCN sites in Alaska.
Click on the above map for more information
about a first-order observing station.

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