338 The University of Georgia Weather Network: Providing 30 Years of Data Products and Applications to Southeastern Climate Data Users

Monday, 13 January 2020
Hall B (Boston Convention and Exhibition Center)
Pamela Knox, Univ. of Georgia, Watkinsville, GA; and G. Hoogenboom, M. Evans, E. Edenfield, S. Wright, and T. Pittman

The University of Georgia weather observing network opened its first station in 1991 by Dr. Gerrit Hoogenboom with Campbell Scientific automated environmental monitoring stations in Griffin, Tifton and Watkinsville, GA. The network was involved in providing technical support for the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics, with several stations installed at competition venues. The network expanded to 37 stations by the end of 2000 and continued to expand to its current 85 stations in Georgia along with one in South Carolina and an additional station in Costa Rica at the former location of a UGA facility there. Data at all 87 stations are collected using a standard Campbell Scientific set of instruments which monitor temperature, precipitation, wind speed and direction, relative humidity, pressure, solar radiation and soil temperature and moisture. The observational array has been updated over time to improve sensor quality and add additional data. Stations are visited at least monthly or when sensor issues occur. Station data are monitored and corrected after undergoing quality control on a daily basis. The network is funded by the University of Georgia with additional support from commodity groups and data sales to the National Weather Service through Earth Networks and other organizations. The UGA Weather Network data are used by a wide variety of university scientists as well as by utilities, agricultural producers, and private citizens to monitor weather and climate around Georgia. Station data are used to support smart irrigation apps for farmers, monitor heat indices for athletic events, forecast utility loads, track agricultural progress of crops including diseases and pests through chill hour and degree day tools, and provide real-time data access for the National Weather Service severe weather operations, as well as many other scientific and commercial uses. The network continues to improve its data storage and access and to develop new tools and applications for use by stakeholders around the Southeast.
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