Dalias and Lillian Price Memorial Endowment

Dr. Dalias Price, Professor Emeritus of Geography, passed away on 3 October 2009, at the age of 96. While attending the University of Illinois in the early 1930s, Dalias found weather observation to be one of his passions, and meteorology and climatology were important parts of his teaching while serving at several universities, including Southwest Missouri State, SIU-Carbondale, and culminating at Eastern Illinois University. In 1960 he officially began observing the weather in Charleston for the National Weather Service, and continued to do so until January 2008, a period of 48 years of continuous recording of which 30 years of his observations set the “climate normal” (1971-2000) that is in use today – a unique and exceptional accomplishment. He was a recipient of the “Thomas Jefferson Award” from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for his outstanding work in gathering and maintaining weather data at the official Charleston weather station, located in his backyard.

In the fall of 2008 the Department of Geology/Geography, in cooperation with the National Weather Service, took over the daily observations that Dalias had begun nearly a half-century ago. Each day students from the Department of Geology/Geography record weather data for transmission and inclusion in the National Weather Service’s weather forecasts and the National Climate Data Center's archive at NOAA. Such forecasts/climate data continue the long tradition in the department of service to the community, and in a small way in this case, to the nation.

Students who participate in this program do so because of their passion for meteorology and climatology and because they have hopes of one day being involved in the field of Broadcast Meteorology. Those students within the department who minor in Broadcast Meteorology or major in Geography and have a GPA of 2.5 or greater are eligible to apply for this endowment. Proceeds from the endowment would be used solely to supplement the stipend of students making the daily readings, compiling the data, and transmitting it to the National Weather Service.

The Dalias and Lillian Price Memorial Endowment will be an everlasting celebration of a generous man who unselfishly gave his lifelong service to this department, university, community, and state. Dr. Dalias Price was a significant and memorable role model we want our students to fully exemplify in their personal lives and careers beyond the gates of our university.

History of the Charleston Cooperative Weather Observation Station

The first Charleston observation began on January 1, 1880 collecting precipitation and temperature data for the U.S. Weather Bureau. In the 1960s, the daily task was given to the department. In the mid 70s, Dr. Dalis Price, professor emeritus, continued the observations at his home. Today, the station has returned to the EIU Campus to continue collecting important climate data for NWS and NOAA.

History of the Cooperative Observation Network

Formally enacted in 1890 under the Organic Act, the Cooperative Observation Program is a network of volunteer weather observers who record daily maximum and minimum temperatures, snowfall, and precipitation totals throughout the United States to help measure long-term climate variations and provide important data in determining forecasts. Many stations were in operation before 1890 but the importance of a network was declared by Congress. The earliest known record of observations came from John Campanius Holm between 1644-45 without the aid of weather instruments. Data were also recorded by George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson whose daily observations continued unbroken between 1776 and 1816. Today, the COOP continues to provide important climate data and is considered the most definitive source of temperature and precipitation data. (NWS COOP)

EIUs Role in the COOP

Every day of the year Geology/Geography students record temperature and precipitation data at 8am and 6pm. The data are provided to NWS for inclusion in the long-term climate archive for the Charleston area. Although EIUWC has four digital stations that record many different meteorological variables in real-time, it is the analog station that is vital to determine U.S. climate trends and what is considered to be climatologically normal.

Charleston Station is Historical

The EIU station is an historical station because the same data and observation times have been continuous since January 1, 1880. Of the over 100 COOP stations in central Illinois there are only 14 stations that hold the position of being historical. Historical stations observe precipitation totals at 8am and temperature data at 6pm. Other COOP stations have only one observation time. EIUWC will continue observing the weather in the same manner as those before us.

Data and the Archive

Each day and at the end of the month the data are sent to NWS. After checking for quality, the preliminary data are sent to the National Climate Data Center (under NOAA) to check the data for accuracy. After about a two month period, the data are officiated and placed in the NCDC online archive. You can retrieve the data from NCDC by visiting ncdc.noaa.gov.

More Information about the COOP

Visit NWS Lincoln's COOP page at crh.noaa.gov/ilx/coop/coop.php.

View and Download the COOP data for Charleston, Illinois

Visit the archive page at eiu.edu/~weather/nwscoop.php.

Do you have more questions about EIUs Station? Send us an email, cdcraig@eiu.edu.

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