the COLORADO Climate Center (CCC) is part of the Department of Atmospheric Science in the College of Engineering at Colorado State University. The aim of the center is to assist the state of Colorado in monitoring climate change over time, ranging from weeks to years. The CCC provides climate-related services to business, government, industry, researchers, educators, and the general public. The center tries to understand the complex interactions between the atmosphere, oceans, continental glaciers, land, and vegetation processes. The CCC has stressed the importance of observation and data collection for climate monitoring, research, and service. It is involved in snow measurement research in collaboration with the National Weather Service.
The services provided by the center aim to reduce the state's vulnerability to climate variability and change. The CCC provides links to regional climate centers, and to the National Climate Data Center, where detailed climate information is provided. It also provides access to other important databases. The CCC website is the primary means with which information is supplied; it also center publishes its own magazine, Colorado Climate.
The CCC is recognized by the American Association of State Climatologists, and was established in 1974 by the state-funded Colorado State University Agricultural Experiment Station. Its primary aim was to provide information and expertise on Colorado's complex climate.
The CCC has a threefold program of Climate Monitoring (data acquisition, analysis, and archiving), Climate Research, and Climate Services that focus on climate-related questions and problems affecting the state of Colorado. The CCC is also home to State Cli-matologist Nolan J. Doesken. He has been with the center since 1977, and is also director of the historic Fort Collins Weather Station on the campus of Colorado State University.
The CCC is responsible for monitoring of daily weather conditions and the interpretations of seasonal and annual weather patterns and variations. The National Weather Service's Cooperative (COOP) Network has over 200 stations in the state, and reports daily on temperature and precipitations. These data provide the oldest continuous records to describe climate change, dating back to the 1880s.
The CCC also monitors weather through data from other organizations, such as the Natural Resource Conservation Service's snow survey, and Remote Snow Telemetry (SNOTEL) stations. SNOTEL is particularly useful to study drought and monitor water supply. The CCC also provides assistance to Colorado State University and to federal groups to maintain an automated network for weather observations to serve agriculture users. The Colorado Agricultural Meteorological Network provides hourly weather data from 60 stations throughout the state that represent different agricultural areas.
The CCC has also been involved in climate research since its foundation. Thomas McKee pioneered drought research and devised the Standardized Precipitation System, an index to monitor drought that has been adopted internationally. The CCC also closely collaborates with the National Weather Service to develop more accurate ways to observe weather from stations. The CCC is leading a national survey of automated snow measurement systems, and is involved in research on energy, crop production, and engineering applications of climate information.
In April 2007, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration named Doesken one of 10 environmental heroes for the creation of an amateur precipitation-monitoring network that gathers 4,000 volunteers nationally. This network is part of the CCC's commitment to involve citizens in climate monitoring. Through the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow network (CoCoRaHS), thousands of citizens of all ages take part in measuring and mapping precipitation patterns in Colorado and several other states.
SEE ALSO: Climatic Data, Atmospheric Observations; Colorado; University of Colorado.
BIBLIOGRApHY. Colorado Climate Center, www.ccc. atmos.colostate.edu (cited September 2007); Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis, Contribution of Working Group 1 to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Cambridge University Press, 2007).
Luca Prono University of Nottingham
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