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Field Station weather stations (1986-present)

The University of Kansas Field Station has acquired climate data from a single location at the Nelson Environmental Study Area (NESA) from 1986 to the present. The geographic coordinates for the site are 95°11'30" west longitude and 39°03'00" north latitude, which is about 200 meters north of the Armitage Education Center and the field office. It is situated on a flat ridge at an elevation of 332 meters (1,088 feet). A 30-meter diameter around the tower is protected from disturbance, and the vegetation is maintained by one summertime mowing each year. The metrics and their measurements have varied somewhat over the years because of the advances in technology or research emphasis, and it is recommended that users familiarize themselves with the nature of any data set before using data therein. Climate data are provided in the two data sets below.

2008-present: NRCS SCAN Data
These data are acquired as part of the NRCS SCAN program (Natural Resources Conservation Service Soil and Climate Analysis Network). All documentation is found on the NRCS-sponsored website. The Field Station weather station is identified as "KU-NESA" and is site #2147.

Note: Precipitation data for the KU Field Station from this source should be used with care. Missing data and other anomalies have been detected through comparisons with other local precipitation data sources. These discrepancies are likely the result of periodic malfunctioning of the automated precipitation can collection device. All instrumentation for this tower and associated data are maintained by the NRCS, not the KU Field Station. 

1986-2008: NESA Weather Station
These data were acquired independently by the Field Station from the NESA site, which is the same location where the NRCS SCAN data currently are collected. Data collection from this source ceased on Dec. 31, 2008, when it was replaced by the NRCS SCAN program. Data and documentation are available in electronic format here.

Description of Data Archives
The University of Kansas Field Station acquired climate data from a single location at the Nelson Environmental Study Area (NESA), from 1986-2008 (95°11'30" west longitude and 39°03'00" north latitude). The weather station at NESA was set to sample eight atmospheric parameters (24 hours a day, seven days a week) using a battery-powered datalogger. The datalogger was set to sample parameters every five seconds and, on the hour, store a mean value of the previous hour's measurements. In addition to these hourly means the datalogger recorded daily (24 hour) minimum and maximum air and soil temperature, and the time when they occurred. It also recorded the daily peak wind speed and the time when it occurred. Eight semi-automated parameters were recorded:

  • air temperature (degrees Celsius);
  • soil temperature (degrees Celsius; probe 20 cm below the surface);
  • relative humidity (%);
  • wind speed (meters per second);
  • wind direction (vector direction in degrees);
  • total global radiation (mean instantaneous solar radiation: kilowatts/meter2);
  • Photosynthetically active radiation, or PAR (mean instantaneous flux density in micro Einsteins);
  • precipitation (current amount in weighing bucket in millimeters).

In addition to the parameters above, weekly standard can measures also were recorded, and total daily precipitation is provided in separate summaries.

Complete metadata and documentation for the operation of the KUFS Weather Station at NESA are available here. Questions about the historic data archive may be directed to Vaughn Salisbury at the Kansas Biological Survey (785-843-8573; salisbur@ku.edu).

In August 2008, a new NRCS SCAN network weather station was installed adjacent to the KU Field Station weather station at NESA as its replacement. Publicly accessible weather data from the NRCS SCAN site is available in real time on the NRCS-sponsored website.

Data archives

Data Documentation and Metadata

Consult the link above for all information on the operation of the station.

Raw weather—DataAutomated Station
The raw weather data from the NESA station are available in both daily and hourly summaries for 1989-2008. The data are presented in MS Excel format and organized by month.

Example of naming conventions for files of raw hourly data:
NESA0208.xls = hourly raw data for the month of August 2002

Example of naming conventions for files of raw daily data:
24HR0507.xls = daily raw data for the month of July 2005

Precipitation—DataAutomated Station
Precipitation data from the automated NESA weather station are available as either daily or monthly summaries for 1989-2008. The data are presented in MS Excel format.

Precipitation data—Standard Can
In addition to the precipitation data from the automated station, there is a tabulation of the weekly standard rain can readings that were recorded from Feb. 16, 1987 through Jan. 2, 2009. These data are available in MS Excel format in one large file and include precipitation amounts in inches for the respective calendar and Julian dates.

Temperature—Monthly summaries from Automated Station
There is a summary tabulation of monthly mean air temperature derived from data from the automated weather station. This tabulation includes a calculated monthly mean, the mimimum and maximum temperature for each month, as well as an annual mean and an overall annual maximum and minimum temperature. These data are tabulated for the period from 1989 through 2008 and are in MS Excel format.

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