Purdue News

June 26, 2006

Indiana State Climate Office 'Steps it up,' gets recognized

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — At Purdue University, the climate is just right for those who want to learn more about the weather.

The Indiana State Climate Office, located in Purdue's agronomy department, recently formed a partnership with the National Climatic Data Center and Midwest and other U.S. regional climate centers in an effort to consolidate climate data and to better understand the intricacies of weather. Indiana residents can access this improved source of weather-related information online or by e-mailing questions to iclimate@purdue.edu.

Dev Niyogi, Indiana state climatologist and Purdue agronomy and earth and atmospheric sciences assistant professor, said that access to this new information will help both the state's public and private sectors.

"It's an excellent source for students, teachers and businesses alike," he said. The information could be used for class projects or lessons plans, he said, or may help construction companies factor weather into building plans. He also said that farmers could use the information to get a better idea of possible rainfall totals, changes in frost days and to monitor drought conditions. The information also has other less obvious beneficiaries.

"One interesting application is for forensics," Niyogi said. "For example, the climate office is able to gauge, with high accuracy, whether or not precipitation was falling at a specific time and place. This information can be useful for legal experts investigating traffic accidents in which rain or snow may have played a role."

The partnership goes along with a new certification from the American Association of State Climatologists as a "Recognized State Climate Office," which provides access to other regional and state centers. Niyogi said that State Climate Office staff will be better prepared to coordinate weather observations with experts around the country and to share the information they collect in order to better conduct climate research and make long-term weather forecasts.

"This is really as much Purdue's success as it is ours," Niyogi said. "Improving our services is something Purdue wanted to achieve as a part of the university's Extension and outreach mission, and we are stepping it up."

Writer: Douglas M. Main, (765) 496-2050, dmain@purdue.edu

Source: Dev Niyogi, (765) 494-6574, climate@purdue.edu

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Beth Forbes, forbes@purdue.edu
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