CDMP 19th Century Forts and Voluntary Observers
The Climate Database Modernization Program (CDMP) is working to preserve and place on-line a wide range of observations about the climate from the last three centuries. The CDMP 19th Century Forts and Voluntary Observers Database Build Project aims to digitize U.S. daily weather observations from the 19th Century. The U.S. Army forts recorded daily weather observations starting in the early 1800s. In the mid- to late 1800s, volunteer observer networks were managed by the Smithsonian Institution and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. These station networks eventually evolved into the Weather Bureau's Cooperative Observer Network, which continues to collect data today for the National Weather Service. In other projects funded by the National Climatic Data Center, daily data have been digitized back to about 1900 for all U.S. stations. The creation of a digital database of the daily Forts/Volunteer Observer data from the 1800s will allow for extension of the analysis of daily climate variables back into the 19th Century and will provide a link between the more recent instrument records and paleoclimate records such as tree ring reconstructions. The National Archives and Records Administration holds the 1800s records on microfilm. These records have been scanned and indexed, and are available on-line through the National Climatic Data Center's web archive site, WSSRD.
In addition to the web tools, selected stations have observation histories in PDF format. These histories include maps of the observation stations, photos and illustrations, as well as chronology of locations and elevations.
Please contact Leslie Stoecker if you have questions or would like to obtain keyed, quality-controlled FORTS data