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Document Type

Dissertation - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department / School

Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Suzette Burckhard


Water is life and the atmosphere is the source for most of the fresh water. This dissertation studies COOP and AWDN weather observation data to increase the understanding of climate at several locations in South Dakota. In the first study, frozen soil temperatures were studied for Cottonwood, SD. The timing of when soil was considered frozen and thawed each year was determined which is important for planning storage and application of manure. The results showed that there was a trend of increasing length to the season of non-frozen soil and its centroid was moving later in the summer over the 22 years studied. The second and third studies compared manually read COOP temperature and wind run sensors to automated and remote AWDN instruments. The results showed that the AWDN temperature derived data could be substituted for the COOP observations. Wind run derived from the AWDN anemometer could not be substituted due to a low correlation. In the fourth study, daily COOP precipitation observations for 2010 and 2011 were compared to water table measurements at Brookings, SD. The results showed that most of the dynamic response of the water table to rainfall events would be lost if water table measurements are made once or twice a month as is the practice. The fifth study examined trends and correlations in Brookings COOP data. Historical precipitation was compared to daily maximum and minimum temperatures over the 118 years of record. Precipitation was then compared to evaporation, wind run, and daily temperatures from 1953 to 2012. The results showed that evaporation total was greater than precipitation total on a water year basis and that precipitation total was less in the colder half of the year. Wavelet analysis was performed to find the frequency of climate cycles. All data showed an annual cycle. A cyclic pattern of 21 to 23 year frequency was evident for most of the data studied as well as some at the 6 to 8 year frequency or at the 11 or 12 year frequency.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Meteorology -- South Dakota -- Observations
Meteorology -- South Dakota -- Statistics
South Dakota -- Climate -- Observations
South Dakota -- Climate -- Statistics


Includes bibliographical references



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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