National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce


Through the National Weather Service (NWS) Cooperative Observer Program (COOP), more than 10,000 volunteers take daily weather observations at National Parks, seashores, mountaintops, and farms as well as in urban and suburban areas. COOP data usually consist of daily maximum and minimum temperatures, snowfall, and 24-hour precipitation totals. These data may include additional hydrological or meteorological data such as evaporation or soil temperatures. Online data access is provided at no charge. If you would like to order certified copies, please visit the Certification of Data page. For more information on the Cooperative Observer Program, click here.


See the National COOP Website:


Contact Lisa Verzella, if you're interested in becoming a Cooperative observer.

Thomas Jefferson Award

This award originated in 1959 as a way for the NWS to honor Cooperative weather observers for unusual and outstanding achievements in the field of meteorological observations. It is the highest award the NWS presents to volunteer observers. The award is named for Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States. Jefferson, the statesman-scientist, made an almost unbroken series of weather observations from 1776 to 1816. His old instruments may now be seen at Monticello, his home in Charlottesville, Virginia. Only a few observers out of nearly 10,000 across the country receive this honor each year.


John Campanius Holm Award

The Holm Award, created in 1959, provides the NWS with a way to honor Cooperative weather observers for outstanding accomplishments in the field of meteorological observations. The namesake for this award is a Lutheran minister, John Campanius Holm, the first known person to have taken systematic weather observations in the American Colonies. Reverend Holm made observations of climate without the use of instruments in 1644 and 1645, near the present site of Wilmington, Delaware. In later years, his son had his records published. Only about 25 observers out of nearly 10,000 across the country receive this honor each year.


Length of Service Awards

The NWS presents Cooperative observers with length-of-service emblems every five years, starting at ten years of service. These include FAMILY HERITAGE and HONORED INSTITUTION awards. Observers who are the descendants of observers who have taken observations at the same site for 50 or more years are qualified to receive the Family Heritage Award every 25 years. The Honored Institution Award is first granted for 25 years’ service and then every 25 years thereafter.


Length of Service Awards


Family Heritage Awards


Honored Institution Awards