New climate site disseminates data

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The redesigned Connecticut State Climate Center website.

Many people take a quick check of the weather to get ready for the day. It is hard for them to remember what kind of weather they had a week ago. Some people, like X. Harrison Yang, professor in the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, see value in getting a more serious look at what happens outside over time. He keeps track of it. Yang’s 30-year view is of a long-term pattern called climate.

Yang is the Connecticut State Climatologist and Director of the Connecticut State Climate Center (CSCC). He and the associate climatologist and associate director, Richard Anyah, concentrate on climate rather than weather. As part of their work, they disseminate high quality climate data to UConn scientists, Connecticut agencies and law enforcement officials. Knowing the climate for a certain period in time for a particular region aids research efforts and decision-making.

John Volin, department head of natural resources and the environment in CAHNR, feels that CSCC provides a valuable service. He said, “The Connecticut State Climate Center is an amazing resource that provides more than three decades of climate data that are collected continuously from more than 20 stations across the State. We’re proud that the Center, which is a part of a national network, is housed in the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment and that we can provide this important service for anyone who is interested in climate and climate data.”

Accessing climate records is easier than ever with CSCC’s newly redesigned CSCC website. However, people who are only wondering if they need an umbrella today will not find it here. The only mention of weather on the site is a short discussion of how it differs from climate. This is truly a climate-oriented website.

For example, if a visitor clicks on “Climate Data,” he or she can download Connecticut climate records and look at them offline. In addition, small amounts of data are available free to those who complete the climate data request form. Yang and Anyah can suggest alternative resources for larger amounts.

Twenty-two stations throughout Connecticut report temperatures, degree-days and precipitation amounts. The CSCC website offers this data for 1981 through 2010. Those who need climate records for areas beyond Connecticut may get it from the Northeast Regional Climate Center (NRCC), which has a collaborative relationship with CSCC.  NRCC serves 12 northeastern states.

The National Climatic Data Center and the American Association of State Climatologists designate CSCC as an official State Climate Office. Both Yang and Anyah are faculty members in the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, which houses CSCC.

By Patsy Evans