University of Kansas Field Station

Field Station Weather Stations (1986-present)

Ku-nesa SCAN site
Ku-nesa SCAN site

The University of Kansas Field Station has acquired climate data from a single location at the Nelson Environmental Study Area (NESA) from 1986-present. The geographic coordinates for the site are 95°11'30" West longitude and 39°03'00" North latitude, which is about 200 m north of the Armitage Education Center and the field station headquarters. It is situated on a flat ridge at an elevation of 332 m (1088 ft). An area of 30 m diameter around the tower is protected from disturbance and the vegetation is maintained by one summertime mowing each year. The metrics and their measurements have varied somewhat over the years due to the advances in technology or research emphasis, and it is recommended that users familiarize themselves with the nature of any data set before using data therein. Climate data are provided in the two data sets below.

2008-present: NRCS SCAN Data

These data are acquired as part of the NRCS SCAN program (Natural Resources Conservation Service - Soil and Climate Analysis Network). All documentation is found on the NRCS-sponsored website. The Field Station weather station is identified as "KU-NESA" and is site #2147.

1986-2008: NESA Weather Station

These data were acquired independently by the Field Station from the NESA site, which is the same location where the NRCS SCAN data are currently collected. Data collection from this source ceased on 31 December 2008, when it was replaced by the NRCS SCAN program. Data and documentation are available in electronic format at the links below.

Description of Data Archives

The University of Kansas Field Station acquired climate data from a single location, known as the Nelson Environmental Study Area (NESA), from 1986-2008. The geographic coordinates for the site were 95°11'30" West longitude and 39°03'00" North latitude. The weather station at NESA was set to sample eight atmospheric parameters (24 hours a day, 7 days a week) using a battery-powered datalogger. The datalogger was set to sample parameters every 5 seconds and, on the hour, store a mean value of the previous hour's measurements. In addition to these hourly means the datalogger recorded daily (24 hour) minimum and maximum air and soil temperature and the time when they occurred. It also recorded the daily peak wind speed and the time at which it occurred. Eight semi-automated parameters were recorded:

  • Air Temperature (degrees Celsius)
  • Soil Temperature (degrees Celsius; probe 20 cm below the surface)
  • Relative Humidity (%)
  • Wind Speed (meters per second)
  • Wind Direction (vector direction in degrees)
  • Total Global Radiation (mean instantaneous solar radiation: kilowatts/meter2)
  • PAR Radiation (mean instantaneous flux density in micro Einsteins)
  • Precipitation (current amount in weighing bucket in millimeters)

In addition to the parameters above, weekly standard can measures were also recorded and total daily precipitation is provided in separate summaries.

Complete metadata and documentation for the operation of the KUFS Weather Station at NESA are available here. Questions about the historic data archive may be directed to Vaughn Salisbury at the Kansas Biological Survey (785-843-8573;

In August 2008, a new NRCS SCAN network weather station was installed adjacent to the KSR weather station at NESA as its replacement. The old station was decommissioned on 31 December 2008. Publicly-accessible weather data from the NRCS SCAN site is available in real time at

Data Archives

Data Documentation and Metadata

Consult the link above for all information on the operation of the station.

Raw Weather Data - Automated Station

The raw weather data from the NESA station are available in both daily and hourly summaries for 1989-2008. The data are presented in MS Excel format and organized by month.

Hourly data Daily data
1990 1990
1991 1991
1992 1992
1993 1993
1994 1994
1995 1995
1996 1996
1997 1997
1998 1998
1999 1999
2000 2000
2001 2001
2002 2002
2003 2003
2004 2004
2005 2005
2006 2006
2007 2007
2008 2008

Example of naming conventions for files of raw hourly data:
NESA0208.xls = hourly raw data for the month of August 2002

Example of naming conventions for files of raw daily data:
24HR0507.xls = daily raw data for the month of July 2005

Precipitation Data - Automated Station

Precipitation data from the automated NESA weather station are available as either daily or monthly summaries for 1989-2008. The data are presented in MS Excel format.

Monthly Data 1989-2008

Daily data

Precipitation Data - Standard Can

In addition to the precipitation data from the automated station, there is a tabulation of the weekly standard rain can readings that were recorded from 16 February 1987 - 2 January 2009. These data are available in MS Excel format in one large file, and include precipitation amounts in inches for the respective calendar and Julian dates.

Temperature - Monthly Summaries from Automated Station

There is a summary tabulation of monthly mean air temperature derived from data from the automated weather station. This tabulation includes a calculated monthly mean, the mimimum and maximum temperature for each month, as well as an annual mean and an overall annual maximum and minimum temperature. These data are tabulated for the period from 1989-2008 and are in MS Excel format.