The North Dakota Agricultural Weather Network (NDAWN) consists of 72 stations distributed across North Dakota, the Red River Valley, and border regions of surrounding states. Through careful site selection it is assumed each station adequately represents all weather conditions except rainfall, in a 20-mile (32 km) radius area. Stations are identified by the name of a nearby city or town. The number and letter(s) following the name indicates the distance in miles and direction from the city's edge. For example, Leonard 5N means the station is located about 5 miles north of Leonard.
Stations provide hourly averages or totals for all variables and hourly maximum wind speed plus daily summaries consisting of maximum and minimum air temperature, maximum wind speed, times of occurrence, and various totals or averages for all other variables in English or metric units. Measured and calculated variables and more complete descriptions of each may be found in the site description and archived data areas.
Data are retrieved via telephone modem shortly after midnight each day. A computer program identifies missing or erroneous values which are replaced by estimates calculated from data at surrounding stations. Following this initial quality control (QC) data are loaded into the NDAWN data base and made available to the general public via the NDAWN web site free of charge. Every Monday thru Friday morning, except holidays, data from all stations are visually compared in order to identify suspicious or erroneous data that the computer program cannot detect. In addition, weekly and monthly average data are similarly compared to identify possible calibration or other problems. For more info see QC.
NDAWN and the NDAWN Center are operated by the NDAWN team housed in the Department of Soil Science (DSS) at North Dakota State University. The North Dakota State Climatologist Office is part of the NDAWN team. Programmers housed in the Department of Agriculture Communication continue to improve and refine this NDAWN web site daily.
Since its inception in 1989, all NDAWN equipment, non-labor operational costs, and some labor costs have been funded through gifts and grants from various federal and state government agencies, commodity organizations, agricultural clubs, businesses, and individuals. In addition, current data base/web site restructuring which allows us to disseminate these valuable data is funded through a federal agency grant.
North Dakota State University (NDSU), the Department of Soil Science (DSS), and the NDAWN Center disclaims all warranties, express or implied, including any warranty of fitness for a particular purpose, as to the accuracy or reliability of NDAWN data or information and assumes no responsibility for their use. Such data or information are provided on an as is basis. Any user of NDAWN data, and/or any products produced directly or indirectly from these data, assumes the entire risk related to their use. In no event will North Dakota State University be liable to you or to any third party for any direct, indirect, consequential or exemplary damages or lost profit resulting from any use or misuse of NDAWN data. We reserve the right to modify any data or information found on this web site as deemed necessary. Please use judgment before using any NDAWN data. If you believe some data are erroneous please notify us at once.
Links to Related Web Pages: Links are provided to various related web sites that weather data users may find useful or interesting. NDSU, DSS, and NDAWN are not responsible for the accuracy or veracity of any content found on these linked web sites. In addition, we are not responsible for the accuracy of NDAWN data or products appearing on any cooperators' web sites.
Since its inception in 1989, all NDAWN equipment, non-labor operational costs, and some labor costs have been funded through gifts and grants from various Federal and State Agencies, Commodity Organizations, Agricultural Clubs, Producers, Businesses, and Individuals. Current web site development is funded through a federal agency grant which allows unrestricted dissemination of NDAWN data free of charge. Several agencies, institutions, or individuals are singled out for particular acknowledgement below.
High Plains Regional Climate Center (HPRCC): From the beginning NDAWN has been operated cooperatively with the High Plains Regional Climate Center (HPRCC) in Lincoln, Nebraska. A 1989 grant from HPRCC provided the funds to form a network using 6 existing automatic weather stations. In addition, HPRCC personnel provided data download and quality control support which continues today. Data are retrieved daily via telephone modem by computer. Then a quality control program identifies missing or erroneous data and replaces them with estimates calculated from surrounding stations. Without HPRCC data handling and quality control support, a North Dakota weather network would have been impossible.
NDAWN station cooperators: We owe a debt of thanks to North Dakota County Agents, NDSU Extension, and other cooperators for their voluntary contributions and assistance in keeping the stations operating all year long and in the best possible condition through upkeep of station grounds, periodical checking on Rain Gauges, visual reports and, of course, emergency sensor replacements when and where it was necessary.
Red River Valley Potato Growers Association (RRVPGA), now known as Northern Plains Potato Growers Association (NPPGA): In 1991 Mr. Neil Jonk, a potato producer, convinced 15 other producers to provide funds to purchase and operate an NDAWN station near Forest River. Simultaneously the RRVPGA provided funds for a station on the potato research farm near Grand Forks. Their objective was to provide the detailed weather data necessary for the development of a potato late blight model. This was the first private investment in the NDAWN system and the resulting successful late blight model developed by Dr. Neil Gudmestad, NDSU Plant Pathologist, gave the new NDAWN system both visibility and credibility. This made it significantly easier to attract new grant funds. Potato producers subsequently provided grants to purchase and operate 5 additional stations in the northern Red River Valley.
Regional Weather Information Center (RWIC), University of North Dakota (UND): During summer, 1992, NDAWN consisted of 16 stations located primarily at NDSU Research Centers throughout the state and the potato growing areas of the northern Red River Valley. Professor Leon Osborne, UND Department of Atmospheric Sciences obtained a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that created RWIC and enhanced the NDAWN system. Sixteen new western North Dakota stations were added as part of this grant in late 1992 and 1993. These stations turned NDAWN into an effective statewide network, and further established its visibility. For many years RWIC personnel downloaded NDAWN data every hour for use in mesoscale forecasting operations and research. For several years in the late 1990's, RWIC also provided significant funding for NDAWN operations.
National Weather Service (NWS): Both the Bismarck and Grand Forks NWS Forecast Offices have supported the NDAWN concept and download NDAWN data when needed for their forecasting mission.
Campbell Scientific, Inc. (CSI): Since 1989 CSI application engineers and other personnel have provided many telephone hours of helpful advice on purchasing equipment, configuring systems, programming for specific purposes, and diagnostic help for problems. Mr. Bart Nef, an application engineer visited us in 2000 to see our operation and obtain a better understanding of our objectives.
Department of Agriculture Communication, NDSU: From the beginning NDAWN data base management, and the dissemination of NDAWN data and applications to the general public has been a cooperative venture with the NDSU Department of Agriculture Communication. Mr. Roger Egeberg developed the programs and system required to provide these services.
The North Dakota Agricultural Weather Network (NDAWN) was established through a grant from, and in cooperation with, the High Plains Climate Center (HPCC), Lincoln, Nebraska in 1989. Originally the network consisted of 6 automatic weather stations located at North Dakota State University (NDSU) Branch Research Centers. Our objective was, and still is, to provide current weather data (yesterday's data today) necessary for the development of, and operational use of various crop, insect, and disease development models. However, before agricultural models could be developed detailed hourly weather data were necessary. In the early 1990s numerous Red River Valley Potato growers and some agribusinesses associated with the potato industry were the first to invest in this venture. They collectively provided grants to purchase and operate 7 new stations in the northern Red River Valley. Their optimism paid off because the late blight model helped save the 1993-4 potato crops. During the early 1990s stations were also added at all NDSU Research Centers and other state and federal research sites.
Sixteen stations were added in 1992-93 through a cooperative project with Professor Leon Osborne, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, UND, that was funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. These additional stations were distributed throughout western North Dakota and transformed NDAWN into a state-wide network providing a valuable resource for every enterprise and resident. There were 32 stations in late 1993. Since then NDAWN has continued to expand as new data applications have been developed and word of its usefulness has spread. Today it consists of 66 stations distributed across North Dakota, the Red River Valley, and border regions of surrounding states.
Although designed specifically for agriculture, data have proven useful for entities in all areas of society. These data are part of the North Dakota State Climatologist's data archive and are used for any and all climatological studies. Access to these type of past and current detailed weather data is a valuable resource for all North Dakotans.
Personnel, Funding, and Cooperators
NDAWN and the NDAWN Center are operated by Radu Carcoana, Barbara Mullins, and Adnan Akyüz, Department of Soil Science (DSS), North Dakota State University. Our computer programmer, Dallas Morlock, is responsible for website programming, updating, and maintenance.
Since its inception in 1989, all equipment, non-labor operational costs, and some labor costs have been funded through gifts and grants from various federal and state agencies, commodity organizations, agricultural clubs, businesses, and individuals. In addition, current web site development which allows us to disseminate these valuable data free of charge was funded through a federal agency grant.
NDAWN is operated cooperatively with the High Plains Regional Climate Center (HPRCC) in Lincoln NE. Data are retrieved daily via telephone modem by an HPRCC computer. Then a computer program identifies missing and obviously erroneous values, and provides estimates based on surrounding station data using an inverse distance weighted algorithm or a regression equation based on the most highly correlated station. If a station's data are missing because of communication problems, these estimated data are replaced with measured data when they become available. Following this initial quality control, data are loaded into the HPRCC data base and the NDAWN data base.
NDAWN data are periodically downloaded by the Regional Weather Information Center (RWIC) located in Aerospace Sciences at the University of North Dakota. They use these data in their forecasting operations and research.
NDAWN data are periodically downloaded by the Bismarck and Grand Forks National Weather Service Offices to assist them in their forecasting mission.
Monitor and record local weather conditions throughout North Dakota and the Red River Valley, and disseminate these timely, detailed, accurate data and information through a comprehensive array of applications, summaries, and innovative displays, free to all, on the NDAWN web site.
And More: The North Dakota Agricultural Weather Network (NDAWN) was specifically designed to provide weather data required for the development of and operational use of agricultural models. Producers can make management decisions using models that predict future crop and pest development based on recent weather conditions. These models can warn of impending disease or insect infestations so that pesticides may be applied at the optimum time for maximum efficacy. On the other hand, a model may indicate that no action is required thus saving a producer time and money as well as reducing pesticide use and its potential adverse environmental effects. Reducing pesticide use is critically important because degradation of ground water by fertilizer nutrients and pesticides has become a major agricultural problem.
Despite its roots, the scope of NDAWN goes far beyond agriculture. These same NDAWN data are regularly used for a wide variety of purposes by people all across the state and region. For example, most state and local government agencies, and all federal agencies in North Dakota use these data to document weather conditions related to storm damage, accidents, crimes, and regulatory violations. In addition, NDAWN data are used for weather forecasting/research, government policy decisions, natural resource management, landfill operation, utility planning and operation, claims adjusting, resolution of legal questions, environmental research, hydrologic forecasting and management, water quality management, structure site selection, wind or solar power potential, etc. The news media, various educators, students, weather hobbyists, etc, find NDAWN data indispensable.
NDAWN has become a valuable regional resource and so far only a tiny fraction of its potential has been realized. These data have become part of the North Dakota climatological archive and will become more valuable as the period of record grows and/or new applications are discovered by scientists in all fields.