Matanuska Experiment Farm honored for century of tracking weather

Weather instruments under blue sky
Courtesy of Matanuska Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension
Staff have been recording weather observations from this station in Palmer since July 1, 1917.

Over the past century, the average annual temperature at the Matanuska Experiment Farm in Palmer increased from 35.2 degrees Fahrenheit to 37 degrees F. Only 38 days annually now drop below 0 degrees, down from 45 days in the early 1900s. In October 1945, it was too damp to harvest crops. In June 1936,  temperatures topped 90 degrees for three days.

These are only a few of the tens of thousands of observations since staff at the Matanuska Experiment Station began tracking the weather on July 1, 1917. A century later, those daily temperature, precipitation, snowfall, snow depth and evaporation data points have proven to be an invaluable record for climate scientists, researchers and the agricultural community.

On July 6, the National Weather Service will honor the Matanuska Experiment Station and Extension Center for its century of participation in the Cooperative Observer Program. Scott Lindsey, Alaska regional director of the National Weather Service, will present the award during a ceremony at the farm at 3 p.m. The farm is located at 1509 S. Georgeson Drive in Palmer.

More than 10,000 volunteer observers participate in the nationwide Cooperative Observer Program to provide daily weather observations on temperature, precipitation, snowfall and other hydrological and meteorological data such as evaporation and soil temperature. The National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts, and warnings for the United States and its territories.