Sunday, 22 January 2012
Establishing a Micronetwork At the Shale Hills Critical Zone Observatory
Hall E (New Orleans Convention Center )
The goal of this study is to establish a dense micronetwork of sensors to better investigate spatial patterns of temperature, humidity, and pressure. Typical networks and mesonetworks tend to have stations tens or hundreds of kilometers apart, and this spatial variation is often not sufficient to resolve features that are induced by terrain such as forests or topographical influences. As such, it is difficult to study processes that occur in these environments. We are aiming to expand the knowledge of what can be resolved with a network of sensors only tens or hundreds of meters apart. Our network is located in densely forested, small mountain valley at the top of a watershed in the Little Juniata River basin in central Pennsylvania. We will deploy this micronet to examine if, for example, features typically observed in much deeper valleys such as thermal belts, can be resolved on this considerably smaller scale. The critical first step in preparing for deployment is characterization of instrument precision and accuracy. Currently we are in the process of calibrating and testing the sensors and creating the packets of instruments for deployment. Deployment is planned for the fall of 2011. We are utilizing a new wireless system of loggers to communicate across the network and transmit the information to one station. We hope to establish this network to both characterize a local watershed and provide a site for future experiments. Results of this study will be useful to micrometeorologists and hydrologists alike. Micrometeorologists will utilize it to simulate complex terrain with tools such as large eddy simulations and hydrologists will use it to assist them with modeling processes such as evapotranspiration in forested mountain settings.