Minutes of the July 21, 2003 Meeting
Smoky Mountain AMS Chapter

Everyone met at Barley's in the Old City of downtown Knoxville around 6:15 PM. After dinner, the meeting commenced at the Ag. Engr. Bldg. on the UT Ag. campus around 8 PM. Russell S. Vose (Chief of the Climate Analysis Branch of the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, North Carolina) spoke on "A Method to Determine Station Density Requirements for Climate Observing Networks":

"This presentation will describe a procedure that provides guidance in determining the number of stations required in a climate observing system deployed to capture the temporal variability in the spatial mean of a climate parameter (e.g., the long-term temperature trend in an area). The method entails reducing the density of an existing station network in a step-by-step fashion and quantifying network performance at each iteration. Given that the full network for the study area provides a reasonable estimate of the true spatial mean, this degradation process will quantify the relationship between station density and network performance. This "cost-benefit" information can then be used in conjunction with practical constraints to determine the number of stations to deploy.

The approach is demonstrated using temperature and precipitation data from 4012 stations in the conterminous United States over the period 1971-2000. The results indicate that a U.S. climate observing system should consist of at least 25 uniformly distributed stations because the largest gains in performance occur up to that point. If trend detection is a high priority, then a network of 135 evenly spaced stations is recommended because a discernable improvement in performance continues to that point and because sampling variability is minor for higher station densities. Through an analysis of long-term observations from the U.S. Historical Climatology Network, this 135-station solution is shown to exceed the climate monitoring goals of the U.S. Climate Reference Network."

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