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How to Become a Cooperative Observer


NWS Weather Forecast Offices (WFOs) staff at local offices nationwide recruit Cooperative Observers.
The NWS goal is a spacing of about one station every 25 miles (one per 625 square miles). That density is less in areas with differences in elevation, urban heat islands, steep land-sea-lake interfaces, etc. Becoming an NWS Cooperative observer volunteer requires the following:

  1. Commitment to long-term recordkeeping: minimum of 10 years at one location (businesses, utilities, family farms are popular candidates)
  2. Ability to learn and perform daily duties
  3. Willingness to allow NWS to place measuring instruments on your property
  4. Willingness to allow at least one visit per year from a NWS representative.
  5. Ownership of a personal computer with Internet access.

If you are selected to become an official NWS Cooperative station, NWS will provide you with the training and suport needed. Depending on your station's instrumentation, your site will be visited once or twice every 12 months or as needed. Volunteer are not paid except in a few very unusual situations.

If you are interested in becoming an NWS Cooperative observer, contact your local NWS representative.


NOAA, National Weather Service
Office of Climate, Water, and Weather Services
1325 East West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910
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Last Updated: June 21, 2013

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