Missourians love to talk about the weather — when you have such a variety, there can be a lot to discuss after all! But now you can get in the official action as a cooperative observer for the National Weather Service. 

The NWS Cooperative Observer Program (Coop) is looking for volunteers to record temperature and precipitation daily, then send the data to the NWS every day. Locations where observers are needed include Camdenton, Missouri.

Volunteer observers are not required to take any tests, according to information provided by the NWS. Data is gathered at a cooperative station then electronically sent to the NWS and the National Climatic Data Center. While temperature and perception are required, many cooperative observers provide additional hydrological or meteorological data such as evaporation or soil temperatures. 

Data may be transmitted via telephone, computer or, in special cases, by mail. Equipment used at NWS cooperative stations may be owned by the NWS, the observer, or by a company or other government agency, as long as it meets NWS equipment standards.

According to the NWS, this program is “truly the Nation's weather and climate observing network of, by and for the people.”

Currently more than 8,700 volunteers across the United States participate in Coop from seashores to mountaintops and from urban to rural environments, all making the data gathered representative of the many environs that make up the country.

Organized in 1890 under the Organic Act, Coop provides observational meteorological data that defines the climate of the United States and helps measure long-term climate changes. It also provides weather data in near real-time to support forecasting, warning and other public service programs of the NWS.

Because of its long-term stability, density of stations across the country and a high proportion of rural locations, the cooperative network has been recognized as the most definitive source of information on U.S. climate trends for temperature and precipitation, according to the NWS. Cooperative stations form the core of the U.S. Historical Network (HCN) and the U.S. Reference Climate Network.

“Volunteer weather observers conscientiously contribute their time so that observations can provide the vital information needed,” according to the NWS. “These data are invaluable in learning more about the floods, droughts, heat and cold waves affecting us all. The data are also used in agricultural planning and assessment, engineering, environmental-impact assessment, utilities planning, and litigation. Coop data plays a critical role in efforts to recognize and evaluate the extent of human impacts on climate from local to global scales.”

Other Missouri locations where they need volunteers include Dora, Seneca, Isabella, Protem and Horton. They also have need for observers in Uniontown, Kansas.

Email contact.sgf@noaa.gov if you are interested in volunteering.