6.4 The Oklahoma Mesonet: Evolution from Real-time Weather Network to Climate Network

Wednesday, 9 January 2013: 11:15 AM
Room 15 (Austin Convention Center)
Christopher A. Fiebrich, Oklahoma Climatological Survey, Norman, OK; and K. Kloesel, D. Grimsley, G. McManus, A. McCombs, and C. Luttrell

The Oklahoma Mesonet is a state-funded, automated network of 120 environmental monitoring stations. Commissioned in 1994, the Mesonet records air temperatures, rainfall, winds, pressure, solar radiation, soil temperatures, and soil moisture.

The Mesonet produces hundreds of products in real-time to aid decision-making for public safety, fire managers, farmers, ranchers, electric utilities, and weather forecasters across the state. As the network has matured, it has also measured a number of significant climate observations. For instance, in 2011 alone, the Mesonet observed the state's lowest temperature ever recorded (-35 °C), the state's highest wind gust ever recorded (67.5 m/s), the state's second driest year on record (average statewide rainfall of 51.45 cm), and the warmest month on record (average statewide temperature of 31.7 °C). Additionally, 71 Mesonet stations have been commissioned as official COOP sites.

To ensure that Mesonet data are "climate quality", all sensors are calibrated before deployed to the field. Additionally, all sensors are routinely rotated back to the calibration lab at predetermined intervals. Since sensor changes are inevitable over the long-term, the Mesonet maintains a set of continuity stations across the state that continue to employ original sensors with new models. As a result, greater confidence in data quality can be achieved as more and more of the observations become official components of the United States climate archive.

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