Reference Climatological Stations

browse graphicMap of RCS stations
The Reference Climatological Stations (RCS) network represents the first effort by NOAA to create and maintain a nationwide network of stations located only in areas where no changes in the surroundings are foreseen. Efforts to establish the network began in 1954 by the National Weather Service. The network became operational in 1966 with the selection of fifteen stations from a list of 28 candidate sites; six more were added as the network expanded. Most stations were located at university agricultural experiment stations. Core data elements include temperature, rainfall, and wind speed & direction. Some stations also measured evaporation and soil temperature. Observations were taken daily by volunteer observers, and were a subset of the extensive NWS Cooperative Observations network. Stations were assigned Cooperative Station IDs, but were provided with special forms on which to record wind speed and direction, elements not recorded at other Coop stations.
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  • NCEI DSI 3230_01
  • gov.noaa.ncdc:C01300
Other Access
  • NCEI Customer Support (offlineAccess)
    Data in this archival information package are not currently available for public download from NCEI. Please contact NCEI Information Services directly for access to these data.
Distribution Formats
  • ASCII
Distributor Customer Engagement Branch
DOC/NOAA/NESDIS/NCEI > National Centers for Environmental Information, NESDIS, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
1-828-271-4800
ncei.orders@noaa.gov
Dataset Point of Contact Customer Engagement Branch
DOC/NOAA/NESDIS/NCEI > National Centers for Environmental Information, NESDIS, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
1-828-271-4800
ncei.orders@noaa.gov
Time Period 1986-01-01 to 1986-09-30 (time interval: 1-day)
Spatial Bounding Box Coordinates
N: 50.0
S: 24.0
E: -66.0
W: -125.0
Spatial Coverage Map
General Documentation
Publication Dates
    No administrative dates available
Dataset Progress Status Complete - production of the data has been completed
Data Update Frequency Not planned
Supplemental Information
All data except wind data have been included in much larger Summary of the Day (DSI-3200) and Summary of the Month (DSI-3220) datasets, and are generally included in the GHCN-Daily homogenized dataset.
Purpose Provides in-situ climatological data for the study of climate variability. Data from these stations were less likely to be biased or contaminated by anthropogenic changes to the environment.
Dataset Citation
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Cited Authors
  • DOC/NOAA/NESDIS/NCDC > National Climatic Data Center, NESDIS, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • DOC/NOAA/NWS > National Weather Service, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
Originators
  • DOC/NOAA/NWS > National Weather Service, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
Collaborators
  • DOC/NOAA/NESDIS/NCDC > National Climatic Data Center, NESDIS, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
Publishers
  • NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information
Theme keywords Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Science Keywords
  • Earth Science > Atmosphere > Atmospheric Winds > Surface Winds > Wind Speed
  • Earth Science > Atmosphere > Atmospheric Winds > Surface Winds > Wind Direction
  • Earth Science > Atmosphere > Atmospheric Pressure > Surface Temperature > Maximum/Minimum Temperature
  • Earth Science > Atmosphere > Precipitation
Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) Essential Climate Variables (ECVs)
  • Atmospheric - Surface - Wind Speed And Direction
  • Atmospheric - Surface - Air Temperature
  • Atmospheric - Surface - Precipitation
Data Center keywords Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Data Center Keywords
  • DOC/NOAA/NESDIS/NCEI > National Centers for Environmental Information, NESDIS, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • DOC/NOAA/NESDIS/NCDC > National Climatic Data Center, NESDIS, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
Platform keywords Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Platform Keywords
  • In Situ Land-based Platforms
Instrument keywords Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Instrument Keywords
  • Rain Gauges
  • Thermometers
  • Anemometers
Place keywords Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Location Keywords
  • Continent > North America > United States Of America
Stratum keywords Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Location Keywords
  • Vertical Location > Land Surface
Use Constraints
  • Cite this dataset when used as a source.
  • Use liability: NOAA and NCEI cannot provide any warranty as to the accuracy, reliability, or completeness of furnished data. Users assume responsibility to determine the usability of these data. The user is responsible for the results of any application of this data for other than its intended purpose.
Access Constraints
  • Distribution liability: NOAA and NCEI make no warranty, expressed or implied, regarding these data, nor does the fact of distribution constitute such a warranty. NOAA and NCEI cannot assume liability for any damages caused by any errors or omissions in these data. If appropriate, NCEI can only certify that the data it distributes are an authentic copy of the records that were accepted for inclusion in the NCEI archives.
Fees
  • In most cases, electronic downloads of the data are free, however fees may apply for data certifications, copies of analog materials, and data distribution on physical media.
Lineage information for: dataset
Lineage Statement Observations were taken by volunteer observers under the supervision of the National Weather Service. The NWS collected and submitted observation forms to NCDC, where the data were key-entered to produce this dataset.
Lineage information for: repository
Processing Steps
  • 2015-04-22T00:00:00 - NOAA created the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) by merging NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC), and National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC), including the National Coastal Data Development Center (NCDDC), per the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015, Public Law 113-235. NCEI launched publicly on April 22, 2015.
Last Modified: 2018-11-05
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