JP1.18 Challenges in the development of the North Carolina Environment and Climate Observing Network (NC ECONet)

Monday, 20 June 2005
Ameenulla Syed, North Carolina State Univ., Raleigh, NC; and R. Boyles, S. Raman, and A. Sims

There are currently 26 automated weather stations in operation under the NC ECONet system. The NC ECONet has been in continuous development for the past eight years. These automated stations are supported by various agencies and programs, but all conform to the accepted international standards. Out of these twenty six, 20 were installed under the support provided by the North Carolina Agricultural Research Service, five by the Division of Air Quality and one by North Carolina Emergency Management Division. All the stations measure ten weather and two soil variables (plus evapotranspiration at 18 sites) at every minute and reduce the data set at the site for mean, maximum, minimum and cumulative values (for precipitation and evaporation). These reduced parameters are stored in the data logger at 15-minute, 60-minute, and 24-hour intervals. The data is updated on the State Climate Office of North Carolina (SCO) web page every hour after initial quality assurance procedures. The main source of power for the weather station is by a solar panel charged battery. The major means of data communication between stations and SCO at present is by land-line telephones. Our goal is to have at least one such automated weather station in each of North Carolina's 100 counties with a spatial resolution of approximately 20 km. A GIS-based analysis was performed to determine the spatial resolution of such a network for North Carolina. The results are consistent with our goal of one per county. Challenges in developing and maintaining NC ECONet will be discussed. A companion program that involves real-time high resolution weather modeling for agricultural and other purposes will be briefly discussed.

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