Enhancing the Rainfall Archive of the Oklahoma Mesonet by Installing Dual Gauges

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Sunday, 4 January 2015
Jonathan King, Oklahoma Mesonet, Norman, OK; and C. Fiebrich

What began as a joint project between the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University has now become a famous and permanent network of over 100 weather-observing stations across the entire state of Oklahoma. Since 1994, the Oklahoma Mesonet has collected over five billion observations and has provided critical information for farmers, ranchers, emergency managers, weather forecasters, and researchers. One of the most important observations at each station is rainfall, which is archived and used to create products ranging from 1-hr rates to seasonal and annual totals. Occasionally a rain gauge will become obstructed if leaves, insects, or grass enter the funnel. Additionally, spider webs can prevent the tipping bucket assembly of the gauge from operating correctly. When these problems occur, Mesonet quality assurance meteorologists flag the data as erroneous. For this reason, Mesonet technicians are deploying a second rain gauge at each site, so that when one gauge becomes dysfunctional, the second gauge can provide observations for a continuous stream of data. With the new design, the chance of cumulative precipitation data being lost is significantly reduced. This upgrade to the network, which began during the summer of 2014, requires a larger base plate and new alter shields. Approximately 60 of the Mesonet's 120 stations were updated in 2014, and the remainder of the stations should be upgraded by early 2015.