CDMP 19th Century Forts and Voluntary Observers Database Build Project , Illinois State Water Survey

Climate and Atmospheric Science

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CDMP 19th Century Forts and Voluntary Observers Database Build Project

Nancy Westcott
Weather Chart

The Climate Database Modernization Program (CDMP) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is working to preserve and place on line a wide range of climate observations from the last three centuries. The Midwestern Regional Climate Center (MRCC) is collaborating with the National Climatic Data Center to extend the digital climate record. The CDMP 19th Century Forts and Voluntary Observers Database Build Project is digitizing U.S. daily weather observations from U.S. Army forts and volunteer observer networks. Records at forts started in the early 1800s, and records at networks, managed by the Smithsonian Institution and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, began in the mid- to late 1800s. These station networks eventually evolved into the Weather Bureau's Cooperative Observer Network, which continues to collect data today for the National Weather Service. Creation of a digital database of 19th Century data will allow extension of analyses of daily climate variables back an additional century. Thirty-nine distinct types of daily weather observations are being digitized, including various observations of temperature, pressure, precipitation, wind, clouds, weather conditions, river gauge height, and surface water temperature.

The MRCC is applying a series of quality control tests to the digitized data to ensure they accurately represent observations recorded on the original documents. As of February 2011, 444 stations have been keyed, with quality control tests completed on more than half of the stations . A map of completed stations is updated monthly ( Additional information on station keying, the quality control process, and station quality control status, and individual station histories can be found on the CDMP web site Climate Database Modernization Program (CDMP). Contact Nancy Westcott ( or Leslie Stoecker ( for information on data availability and acquisition.

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