Climate Change Insights from Mohonk Weather Station

Lisa Moore's profileThere was an interesting story in Tuesday's New York Times about a unique weather station in upstate New York next to the Mohonk House resort. Most cooperative observer stations move over time, or the area around them is built up, or the observers and observing methods change. Not so at Mohonk.

At Mohonk, the weather observations are done as they were 112 years ago, and only a handful of people have recorded the over 41,000 readings. Plus Mohonk has an extensive database of wildlife sightings, a 77-year record of Mohonk Lake water quality, and an 83-year record of local phenology (the timing of events such as frost, blooms and migrations) – all observed by the same handful of people. This makes the site's data uniquely valuable:

Local phenology records are extremely valuable, and can be fun to collect and explore. Project Budburst is a network of "citizen scientists" observing phenological events. Do you participate, or would you like to? Share your thoughts and stories here!

This post is by Lisa Moore, Ph.D., a scientist in the Climate and Air program at Environmental Defense Fund.

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3 Comments

  1. kenzrw
    Posted September 18, 2008 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    What trend in temperature did this station record over the 112 years? Was there an upward trend in them, downward trend, no change? Is there a graph of average highs and lows at Mohonk over the years? Or a chart of average dates of first and last freezes or frosts each year? I've read a story talking about similar co-op sites across the country which never moved and I think that all their data ought to be compiled into a single database to determine exactly how much we've been warming (or even cooling, if that's what the data would show). It'd be interesting to look at.

  2. Posted September 18, 2008 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    I think it was a 2.5 degree increase in temperature. Click the link and you can read the article in the NY Times for details.

  3. kenzrw
    Posted September 18, 2008 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    Sorry I didn't do that earlier. Thanks. I do know that the NWS/NOAA update their average/normals 30-year tempertures every 10 years (i.e, today the average highs and lows, etc, are for the 30-year period 1970-2000, which will be updated in 2011, using the 1980-2010 period). Those normals have been going up every time they've updated, at least since the 1960-1990 normals, at least for Arkansas, where I live).

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