The power of observation
Simple observation of our surroundings can be mundane or meaningful depending on perspective. Thoughtful people such as Archimedes or Sir Isaac Newton explaining things that they observed and reaching conclusions about why they happened provided some of the most basic principles of physics. Observing weather is an integral part of anyone’s life that depends on spending time outdoors to make his or her living. Of course, the next step in observing is forecasting — what will it be like tomorrow?
The network of amateur weather observers, which exists all over the world supplies critical data about conditions, and is an integral part of any forecast model as we have described before. Who are these people? For the most part, they are ordinary folks with a hobby, not necessarily trained meteorologists but willing to spend a few minutes a day recording the basics of temperature, humidity, rain, wind and the barometer.
One such observer was recently recognized for his long-term commitment to supplying weather observations. Richard Hendrickson of Bridgehampton, N.Y. has been collecting daily observations since 1930, and is still going strong at age 101. The National Weather Service recently recognized Mr. Hendrickson for his contributions to the scientific community and all of us who rely on accurate forecasting. For Mr. Hendrickson and many others the daily reports are an unpaid hobby but an important service to the community. Anyone can adopt this hobby and training is available through the NWS to insure that the collected data is accurate. The weather station can be as simple or complex as the finances allow and the interest grows but every one provides a reward to both the data gatherer and the rest of us.
Hats off to Mr. Hendrickson and weather watchers everywhere!