27th Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology


The University of South Alabama Mesonet and data collected during the 2005 Hurricane Season

Jason Holmes, University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL; and S. K. Kimball and K. Blackwell

In this presentation, an overview of the physical configuration of a local network of weather observation sites is given. For a project of this magnitude to be successful, a multi-agency collaboration is essential. Collaborators include the National Weather Service (NWS) in Mobile, Alabama, the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program, the Dauphin Island Sealab., various School Districts in Alabama and Mississippi, the LSU Agricultural Center, and Mobile County. Each group brings its own applications to the table, underscoring the need for these detailed, high density observing networks. Combining resources means the mesonet will be bigger and better than any agency could have achieved independently. The University of South Alabama's (USA) interest in the project is threefold: outreach, education, and research. A first and important motivation are the broader impacts of the project to the community. For instance, the local NWS office uses the data for operational purposes, while Mobile County requires data for road and culvert design. Secondly, the weather stations will be used to enhance education of not only local public school students, but also meteorology majors at USA. Thirdly, the sites will play an increasing and crucial role in hurricane (and other) research. Many structural and thermodynamic changes occur during the landfall of tropical systems. These processes are poorly understood, mostly due to a lack of data. The addition of several research quality observing sites to the central Gulf coast area is expected to significantly improve both the quality and quantity of data collected in landfalling tropical cyclones over the next decades. Data from the sites is made available to any interested party, free of charge.

Progress, problems, and successes in the ongoing development of the USA Mesonet will be presented. The location of current and future sites will be displayed as well as information on the sensors and equipment that make up these top-notch, research quality sites. Data collected during the various storms that made landfall along the Gulf Coast this season, will be shown.

Poster Session 7, The 2005 Atlantic Season
Tuesday, 25 April 2006, 1:30 PM-5:00 PM, Monterey Grand Ballroom

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