Marshall Field Site
Tucked amid parcels of open space between Boulder and Broomfield is one of NCAR's lowest-profile but prized facilities, the Marshall Field Site. This location has fostered research activities since the 1970s with radar development and winter weather nowcasts developed by NCAR and NOAA for FAA operations. The collection of precipitation-measuring instruments and wind shields at Marshall include gauges of various shapes and sizes surrounded by large shields, made of wood, metal, and plastic, that wrap around and above the gauge like two-meter-wide flowers. These structures block wind, forcing snow to settle into the gauge rather than skirting across the top of it (as much as 25- to 50 percent of a wind-driven snowfall can go unrecorded if a gauge is unshielded).
Marshall continues to be used for other ground-based projects conducted by RAL, including serving as one of the designated sites for the nation’s Climate Reference Network, and is the only U.S. site that contributed to a World Meteorological Organization project dedicated to developing the automated standard internationally for snowfall measurement.
This outdoor lab is available to researchers in academia, industry and federal labs who want to test their instruments in real, and many times extreme, weather conditions. The Marshall facility has the infrastructure and personnel in place to collaborate with a wide range of researchers and instrument users.
Work conducted here includes:
- winter weather forecasts in support of airline operations;
- instrument testing and comparison of wind, temperature, precipitation measurements;
- protype testing; and
- real-time weather and climate data observations
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