LSU AgCenter Scientist Honored For National Weather Service Contributions

William D. Caldwell, Mcbride, Jere M., Van Osdell, Mary Ann  |  9/11/2007 7:47:45 PM

David Caldwell, professor at the LSU AgCenter’s Red River Research Station in Bossier City, received a National Weather Service award for 41 years of service. (Click on photo to download larger image.)

News Release Distributed 09/05/07

Recognizing 41 years of dedication, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s National Weather Service has named William David Caldwell, professor at the LSU AgCenter’s Red River Research Station in Bossier City, as a 2007 recipient of the agency’s John Campanius Holm Award.

This year's coveted Holm Award is being presented to 26 people who have performed exceptional volunteer service as a weather observer. Holm’s weather records, taken without benefit of instruments in 1644 and 1645, were the earliest known recorded observations in the United States.

“Cooperative observers are the bedrock of weather data collection and analysis,” said Mary M. Glackin, acting director of NOAA’s National Weather Service. “Satellites, high-speed computers, mathematical models and other technological breakthroughs have benefited the nation in better forecasts and warnings. But without the century-long accumulation of accurate weather observations taken by volunteer observers, scientists could not begin to adequately describe the climate of the United States.”

The award will be presented during a ceremony at the Red River Research Station in Bossier City on Sept. 6 during the facility’s annual field day.

“Mr. Caldwell has always taken his responsibility seriously and diligently over the years,” said Dr. Jere McBride, LSU AgCenter director for the Northwest Region. “His reports are always timely and many times hand-delivered, even on his days off and during vacations and holidays.”

Steven Cooper, acting director of the NWS southern region, said Caldwell and the thousands of cooperative observers across the nation give generously of their time and energy because of their interest in weather and dedication to their country. “We honor them and thank them for their commitment.”

In addition to providing the NWS with timely, accurate observations for more than four decades, Caldwell maintains all of the measuring equipment at the research station.

The data compiled is used by LSU AgCenter scientists to correlate weather trends with crop yields, insect populations and migration patterns and a range of environmental studies.

Long and continuous records provide an accurate picture of a locale’s normal weather and give climatologists and others a basis for predicting future trends. These data are invaluable for scientists studying floods, droughts and heat and cold waves. At the end of each month, observers mail their records to the National Climatic Data Center for publication in Climatological Data or Hourly Precipitation Data.

The NWS Cooperative Weather Observer Program has given scientists and researchers continuous observational data since the program’s inception more than a century ago. Today, some 11,700 volunteer observers participate in the nationwide program to provide daily reports on temperature, precipitation and such weather factors as snow depth, river levels and soil temperature.

The first extensive network of cooperative stations was set up in the 1890s as a result of an act of Congress that established the U.S. Weather Bureau.

Many historic figures have maintained weather records, including Benjamin Franklin, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson maintained an almost unbroken record of weather observations between 1776 and 1816, and Washington took weather observations just a few days before he died.

NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is celebrating 200 years of service to the nation. From the establishment of the Survey of the Coast in 1807 by Jefferson to the formation of the Weather Bureau and the Commission of Fish and Fisheries in the 1870s, much of America's scientific heritage is rooted in NOAA.

Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 70 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network.

Presenting the Holm Award will be Mike Asmus, regional cooperative/surface observations program leader, NWS Southern Region Headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas; Armando L. Garza, meteorologist in charge, Shreveport Forecast Office; and Aaron Stevens, observations program leader, Shreveport Forecast Office.

Agriclimatic information may be obtained from www.lsuagcenter.com/weather. NOAA is on the Web at www.noaa.gov and NOAA’s National Weather Service is at www.weather.gov.

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Contacts: David Caldwell at (318) 741-7430, ext. 1105, or wcaldwell@agcenter.lsu.edu  Jere McBride at (318) 741-7430, ext. 1199, or jmcbride@agcenter.lsu.edu

Writer: Mary Ann Van Osdell at (318) 741-7430, ext. 1104, or mvanosdell@agcenter.lsu.edu

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