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U.S. Historical Climatology Network (USHCN) Data Set Description

The U.S. Historical Climatological Network (USHCN) data set is a product of the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC) and the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC).  It is composed of monthly temperature and precipitation data from 1221 stations located within the conterminous United States.  A plot showing the location of all 1221 stations can be found here.  The period of record varies for each station.  Most stations have at least 80 years of continuous data and extend through December of 2000.  Stations with longer records extend back to the early to mid-1800s.  NCDC/CDIAC do not update the adjusted USHCN data set annually, likely due, in part, to the amount of time, effort and money required to do so.  We do not know when the next revision of this data set will be performed, but we will include the new data when they become available.

Given the spurious warming trend identified by Balling and Idso (2002) that exists in the "corrected" versions of the USHCN database, the Center has opted to utilize the database's RAW version throughout the U.S. Climate Data section of its website.  For a complete description of the corrections applied to the USHCN database, as well as the available versions, please contact NCDC.  However, some of this information can also be found in the Center's review of the Balling and Idso paper.

When referencing this data set, or any of its output as calculated on our web site, please cite as indicated below:

Easterling, D.R., Karl, T.R., Mason, E.H., Hughes, P.Y., Bowman, D.P., Daniels, R.C. and Boden, T.A. (Eds.).  1996.  United States Historical Climatology Network (U.S. HCN) Monthly Temperature and Precipitation Data.  ORNL/CDIAC-87, NDP-019/R3.  Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

References:
Balling Jr., R.C. and Idso, C.D. 2002. Analysis of adjustments to the United States Historical Climatology Network (USHCN) temperature database. Geophysical Research Letters 10.1029/2002GL014825.

Easterling, D.R., Karl, T.R., Mason, E.H., Hughes, P.Y., Bowman, D.P., Daniels, R.C. and Boden, T.A. (Eds.).  1996.  United States Historical Climatology Network (U.S. HCN) Monthly Temperature and Precipitation Data.  ORNL/CDIAC-87, NDP-019/R3.  Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee.