Gazette News Report
CAESARSCREEK TOWNSHIP — Glenn Harner was honored by the National Weather Service Thursday for his 40-plus years of being a cooperative weather observer.
Harner began observing in 1972, taking over for his father, Ernest, who took observations from 1929 to 1972. The station began in 1916.
Cooperative weather observers serve a critical role in contributing to meteorologists knowledge and understanding of the local, national, and global climate.
Observers date back to 1644 when John Campanius Holm, a Lutheran minister, was the first to take systematic observations in the American Colonies. In 1953 a plan was established to evenly blanket the nation with weather observers. Dr. Helmut Landsberg of the Weather Bureau conducted a study with Iowa State University to establish a method of filling in the open spaces of this volunteer network. It was determined that there should be one weather station every 25 miles for estimating rainfall within an accuracy tolerance of ten percent. By 1990, the network had expanded to 10,000 sites. The most recent statistics estimate that there are 12,000 cooperative observers in the United States.
Forecasts are often based on observer data, and even warnings for severe weather have been issued based on information received from a volunteer. Once a month, the local weather office collects all the data and sends it to the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, NC. There it is entered into a huge national database that is accessible by the public.
Harner was also recognized by the Greene County Board of County Commissioners.