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Rutgers University earns award for 125 years of weather observing

Rutgers University earns award for 125 years of weather observing

Rutgers Meteorology Student Takes Weather Observation at Rutgers Gardens

Tom Juliano, a junior meteorology student at Rutgers University, takes the 8 a.m. daily weather observation at Rutgers Gardens in New Brunswick. Juliano is one of several students who report the daily high temperature, low temperature, rainfall, snow and more at the station, as has been done for more than 125 years. 

For more than 125 years of human observation of rain, wind, snow and more, Rutgers University has earned an award from the National Weather Service.

The 2021 Honored Institutions Award was given to Rutgers on Wednesday for its immense length of consistent weather records. Based at Rutgers Gardens in New Brunswick, trained students, faculty and staff have woken up early to take records, even on weekends and holidays, since Jan. 1, 1893.

“This award is a testament to the efforts of countless students, staff and faculty over 125 years. Eight a.m. isn’t prime time for many college students, but our student observers are truly dedicated,” said Tony Broccoli, distinguished professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences at Rutgers, who operates the Cooperative Observer Program at the school.

Maximum and minimum temperatures, rainfall, snowfall, soil temperatures and evaporation are recorded for the previous 24-hour period. The data then is transmitted to the National Weather Service. The Rutgers New Jersey Weather Network also updates its data live online through its statewide network.

“Your work collecting this valuable information in extreme heat, bitter cold, hurricanes and snowstorms shows your commitment. ... Thank you for your services over the years to your agencies, services and country,” said Jason Tuell, director of the NWS’ Eastern Region, which covers New Jersey.

The Cooperative Observer Program is home to over 8,700 observers, who provide information to define the climate of a region. The program was established by Congress in 1890.

Nine New Jersey weather observers have won COOP awards. Wayne Roop, of Lower Township, who’s taken daily records at midnight since 1975 at his house, was a recent winner. To honor his longstanding observation achievements and involvement in the community, the NWS presented Roop with the John Campanius Holm Award on Monday after winning it in 2017. Holm was the first person known to have taken regular weather observations in the American colonies.

Contact Joe Martucci:


Twitter @acpressmartucci

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