Enhancing metadata available from MADIS for the National Mesonet

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Monday, 18 January 2010
Michael F. Barth, NOAA/ESRL/GSD, Boulder, CO; and P. A. Miller and D. Helms

As described in the National Research Council report on Observing

Weather and Climate from the Ground Up: A Nationwide Network of

Networks, the U.S. Enterprise observing system is now comprised of a

"Network of Networks" jointly provided by government, academia,

industry, and the public. For example, many state and local

governments and private companies have installed and operate dense

networks of surface observing systems known as mesonets. Partially in

response to the report, NOAAis building a National Mesonet

infrastructure to extend the reach of its backbone surface observing

systems by leveraging existing observations from non-Federal networks.

As stated in the NRC report, "A NoN cannot deliver a net benefit to

users unless comprehensive metadata are supplied". Establishment of a

comprehensive metadata database with information on items such as

observing system instrumentation, calibration, maintenance and siting

are essential for effective utilization and integration of the various

data sources for specific applications and observation-based

verification and data assimilation techniques.

The Meteorological Assimilation Data Ingest System (MADIS) ingests,

integrates, quality controls, and distributes surface and upper-air

datasets to the meteorological community, and provides high-quality

environmental data to the weather enterprise. MADIS is a NOAA

Research system, developed at OAR/ESRL/GSD, and is now being

transitioned to NOAA operations.

Among the MADIS datasets is an integrated observation database

containing high-frequency, real-time data from over 60,000 surface

stations operated by more than 150 government and non-government

networks. Many users are already finding many good applications for

the MADIS mesonet data. However, there can be significant challenges

in evaluating and using data from non-NOAA sources, which do not

always follow identical siting and instrumentation standards. Dealing

with this many networks requires integrating a disparate collection of

stations, with many vendors, instrument types, and software processing

packages in use. Siting can also be a challenge, as many of the

stations are in urban areas, which may prove challenging for

metorological applications.

This paper will provide an overview of the MADIS plans for collecting,

storing, and distributing metadata in support of the National Mesonet.