TJ13.5 Surface Observations: How Do We Best Utilize the Flood of Observations From Fixed, Mobile, and Internet of Thing Platforms? (Invited Presentation)

Wednesday, 25 January 2017: 11:45 AM
2AB (Washington State Convention Center )
John Horel, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT

Federal and local agencies, America’s Weather Industry, academic institutions, and the general public are increasingly taking advantage of new surface-based instrumentation, communication, and software technologies to meet their requirements as well as the ever-growing needs of diverse users of environmental information. This growing interest in surface-based sensor technologies was illustrated by the involvement of over a hundred participants in the Forum on Observing the Environment from the Ground Up in March 2016 that was sponsored by the American Meteorological Society. The objectives of the Forum were to: recognize the commonalities among prior and current successes for creating and operating surface-based observing networks; identify opportunities and challenges facing observing networks nationwide; and review current best practices and approaches for fostering the integration of environmental observing networks for the benefit of the entire weather enterprise and society.

While considerable progress has been made to harness the growing capabilities of the weather enterprise to utilize in-situ and surface-based remote sensors, many challenges remain to adequately monitor conditions below, at, or immediately above the earth’s surface. These challenges include: how to maintain as well as expand local and regional surface observing networks operated by entities from all sectors of the weather enterprise; how to support data sharing and integrating environmental data from diverse sources; and how to identify, prioritize, and eliminate the largest gaps in the national and international observing network. Technological advances are leading to low-cost sensors and capabilities to deploy such sensors in novel ways (vehicles, UAVs, home, and wearable). How to integrate information from such "Internet of Things" devices in combination with conventional observing systems is a challenge, yet also a great opportunity to meet the current and future needs of the weather enterprise.

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