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History of the State Climatologist in New Mexico

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  • npat1
    History of the State Climatologist in New Mexico Americans use climate information to make decisions about personal activities and activities affecting the
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 28, 2006
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      History of the State Climatologist in New Mexico

      Americans use climate information to make decisions about personal
      activities and activities affecting the country�s economic
      development. Private citizens, local, state and federal agencies,
      collect climate data. The state climatologist is responsible for
      coordinating the dissemination of this information at the state
      level. The New Mexico state climatologist developed an Internet home
      page to help disseminate climate and water conservation information

      Originally the state climatologist in each state in the United States
      was a federal employing working for NOAA. The State Climatology
      program was terminated by NOAA April 16, 1973, and NOAA Administrator
      Robert M. White sent a letter to all state governors asking that they
      establish their own state climate program. In 1978 the state of New
      Mexico created the state climatologist position ( Office of state
      climatologist created; state climatologist. 75-4-3 NMSA 1978) with the
      position located within the New Mexico Department of Agriculture and
      later transferred to New Mexico State University College of
      Agriculture where the New Mexico Climate was created. .

      The New Mexico Climate Center not only supplies climate data but
      computer based tools to use the climate data for making management and
      engineering design decisions in the area of agriculture, hydrology,
      construction, health and economic development. The New Mexico Climate
      Center links to all available climate data in the state and maintains
      a automate Campbell weather station network through out the state to
      collect climate parameters not measured by other state and federal
      agencies. These addition climate parameters include solar radiation,
      humidity, and wind speed and direction.

      Knowledge about the climate through out the state and the water use of
      both agriculture and native vegetation is the bases for making water
      conservation and management decisions. Water conservation can only
      occur when knowledge about the impact of different irrigation
      managements decisions are understood as those decision affect the
      hydrologic balance. Climate data is the driving variable for
      hydrologic and irrigation management models that are available from
      the New Mexico Climate Center.

      Economic development occurs in those areas where climate conditions
      are suitable to attract both personal and minimize energy cost. Many
      people move to New Mexico for the ideal climate.

      History of events of the State Climatologies

      In 1978 the state of New Mexico created the state climatologist
      position ( Office of state climatologist created; state climatologist.
      75-4-3 NMSA 1978) with the position located within the New Mexico
      Department of Agriculture. The position was authorized but not funded
      by the state legislature.

      Dr Kunkel was hired as the state climatologist by Dr. Stevens using
      resources in the Department of Agriculture to fund 50% of the
      position. New Mexico State University funded 25% from teaching
      resources as Dr. Kunkel taught climatology in the geography
      department. A 25% research appointment in the Agriculture Experiment
      Station completed the appointment. Climate station equipment was
      installed at all agriculture research stations and other strategic
      locations throughout the state. Monitoring of wind speed, wind
      direction , temperature, solar radiation and humidity were initiated.
      This network represented one of the first state climate monitoring
      networks in the United States. In 1989 the state of New Mexico went
      into a financial crises and budgets were cut at New Mexico State
      University and the Department of Agriculture. Dr. Kunkel was
      terminated and took a job at director of the Midwestern Regional
      Climate Center created by NOAA. New Mexico State Agriculture
      Experiment Station assigned Dr. Sammis the job as state climatologist
      along with the responsibility to operate the state climate network. No
      funding was associated with the duties of state climatologist, but the
      Agriculture Experiment Station did pay for student help. The students
      under Dr. Sammis's direction created the New Mexico State Climate
      Center program and developed and currently maintain a home page at
      http://weather.nmsu.edu/ that make available the climate data
      collected in the State of New Mexico.

      In 1997 a memorandum of understanding between the New Mexico
      Department of Agriculture and the Agriculture Experiment Station, New
      Mexico State University was signed that officially transferred the
      responsibilities of the state climatologist from the Department of
      Agriculture to the Agriculture Experiment Station.

      The state climatologist job by law is to assess the effect of climate
      on the natural environment, agricultural production, land and natural
      resources and human health; coordination climate impact studies and
      programs to improve understanding of climate processes, natural and
      man-induced, and of the social and economic implications of climate
      change; develop methods and procedures to enable interested state
      agencies and public institutions of higher education to participate in
      the program; disseminate climate data, information, advice and
      assessments to state agencies, local public bodies and the general
      public; establish an effective mechanism for consultation and
      coordination with the federal government and other states in climate
      related activities; and administer the state intergovernmental climate

      All these activities are currently being done by the state climate
      program. The services of the state climatologist are use by a broad
      number of clientele including people from the area of agriculture and
      the life sciences, engineering, law, and economic development and
      tourism. The state climatology program publishes a newsletter on the
      impacts of climate change on New Mexico, maintains the drought plan
      and current drought status and actions information on the internet
      home page , provides design information for wastewater treatment
      ponds, provides air quality information and pollen count, information
      about air quality transport models, and provides information and
      irrigation management tools for irrigation scheduling that uses the
      climate data base. The web site and state climatology program
      presents information on water conservation management and hydrology
      information. In addition numerous other pieces of information
      connected with climate are answered by the state climatology program
      upon request by the public, state and federal agencies and researchers
      at the different Universities. Over 500 requests a day for climate
      information are answer through the web information dissemination.

      As part of the state climatology program , climate data collected by
      other agencies in the state, including the Middle Rio Grand Irrigation
      district, are processed and displayed on the New Mexico Climate Center
      home page. Tools developed on the home page to analysis and solve
      problems using climate data have been developed that work with all
      climate data collected in the state by different organizations. The
      state climate program does not store all climate data due to limited
      financial resources but the program does point to where the data is
      available by the other cooperating organizations within the state.

      Universities within the state conduct research on climate but do not
      conduct the duties of the state climatologist. The regional climate
      centers and the National Weather Service are the other agencies that
      answers state climatology type questions for the citizens of New

      Current and future funding activities need to support the state
      climatology program.

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