Missouri's transition to a near real-time mesonet
Patrick Guinan, Univ. of Missouri, Columbia, MO; and J. Travlos
Sixteen years ago, the University of Missouri's Extension Commercial Agriculture Program established a small mesonet in Missouri. The network was named the Extension Commercial Agriculture Automated Weather Station Network where environmental variables including temperature, relative humidity, wind speed, wind direction, solar radiation, soil temperature and precipitation were collected on an hourly and daily basis. The vision for these weather stations was to support high technology agriculture and preservation of the environment. Today, the mesonet has grown to 27 weather stations across the Show-Me state and the vision has exceeded all its expectations. In hindsight, the network has not only been successful in the agricultural realm, but its application has transcended numerous other vocations and interests. The mesonet has become an important environmental data resource for the citizens of Missouri.
Recently, technological advancements in wireless communication and funds acquired through various grants have provided the opportunity to bring near real-time weather conditions to 15 of the 27 weather stations in the network. These 15 stations are providing the latest 5-minute weather conditions over the Internet and, with near real-time weather, the level of application increases significantly. Accordingly, near real-time monitoring has increased visibility of the network and earlier concerns of funding shortfalls in regard to weather station sustainability are beginning to wane as awareness increases and sponsorships are secured, mostly on a station by station basis.
The author will discuss the evolution of Missouri's mesonet from solely being a provider of historic climatological data to one that includes near real-time weather monitoring. The benefits and utility of the network, and techniques associated with securing resources for network sustainability will also be presented.
Extended Abstract (140K)
Session 1, Climate Observing Systems I
Monday, 11 August 2008, 9:00 AM-10:00 AM, Harmony AB
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