Iowa’s new state climatologist, Justin Glisan, says he won’t be spending all of his working hours in his office in Des Moines. “Getting out into the state is a big thing I’m excited about,” Glisan says.
The Missouri native was hired as Iowa’s state climatologist in May. He plans to travel the state as much as possible. “And talk to farmers, the ag sector, talk to any group that’ll have me,” Glisan says. “This is an important job and getting more people in the observation role, with a thermometer and a rain gauge in their backyard, so they can report those.”
One task of the state climatologist is coordinating a group of volunteers who report daily weather observations. The multi-state group is known as CoCoRaHS, the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow network.
The 35-year-old old Glisan is only the third person to hold the job of state climatologist in Iowa. He replaced Harry Hillaker, who recently retired after three decades in the position.
Glisan is also hoping to keep the job until he retires. “I really think that being in a position like this for a long time gives you an idea of how the climate of Iowa has changed or how the weather patterns have changed. Harry liked to call himself ‘the weather librarian’ and I’d really want to emulate his career,” Glisan says. “So, I hope I can be here for a long time.”
The state climatologist’s office is part of the Iowa Department of Agriculture. Glisan is in charge of compiling weekly, monthly, and annual reports about precipitation totals, shifts in temperatures, and other climate-related data.