Weather Data for over 111 years and counting

The North Central NDSU Extension Center offers a variety of research in a variety of Agricultural fields, including the weather data that Joe Effertz collects. Submitted Photo

Knowing how weather has changed or stayed the same throughout the years is extremely important for a variety of reasons. It can help predict possible weather changes that may occur at regular intervals over time, such as dry seasons or wet seasons. Weather data can also help those who study it or keep an eye on it to see if a strange weather occurrence is common for an area by what has happened previously.

At the North Dakota State University Extension Center, they watch the weather daily to add to a bank of data that, according to Research Technician Joe Effertz, spans 111 years of monthly averages of the weather.

Effertz is originally from the Velva area before moving to the Minot area, so he is no stranger to the temperamental weather that North Dakota likes to have. Along with his work doing research such as testing different varieties of crops and other agricultural based research, he makes sure to check and study the weather.

“I check daily temperatures, checking the temp at 8 a.m. when I come to work,” said Effertz.

He then adds that temperature and those obtained several times throughout the day into an Excel sheet. Along with the temperature, he adds in information of snow and rain that might occur during the different days and months of the year.

“I collect snow in a canister to melt down to see how much moisture was in it. In spring, I use a rain gauge to see how much rain falls,” Effertz explained.

At the end of each month, he takes all the data and numbers he collected over the days and does some math to find the average temperature for that month of data. That estimated average temperature is then added in to the large collection of data from the last 111 years of local weather to keep the knowledge and numbers going.

When Effertz was asked why he started doing data collection, he said, “It was just a part of my job. I worked here for three or four years and when someone retired, I took over the data collection.”

North Dakota State University has set up extensions in eight different counties in North Dakota, including the one here in Ward County. The Extension centers run with a simple goal and purpose of creating “learning partnerships that help adults and youth enhance their lives and communities” in mind.

The centers work to achieve this goal through a diverse list of programs and partnerships that cover research, technology, and knowledge to any and all who are interested.

Some of the programs they offer include Livestock Management, Farm Business Management, Crop Management, Family Economics, 4-H Youth Development, and Nutritional, Food Safety, and Health.

North Dakota State university is a land-grant university and has a three-part responsibility to the those in North Dakota. They work to engage in teaching, research, and extending knowledge. Through the extentions they have over the state, they are able to extend their knowledge and what they have to offer, including their weather data, to all who around the state.