Novel Techniques for Filling Coastal Data Needs:
The WeatherFlow Coastal Mesonet
Matt Corey, WeatherFlow Inc.
Traditional “coastal” observations have included a mix of offshore buoys and inland airports which can often miss the variety of localized phenomena that occurs at the land/sea interface.
With much of the nation's population, economy, and military concentrated along the coastlines and directly impacted by these small scale phenomena, non-traditional types of observational data are required to help fill in the data gaps.
WeatherFlow has been an industry leader in studying and measuring the coastal zone and continues to implement a number of sensing technologies to try to address data shortfalls. The foundation of these efforts is the WeatherFlow Coastal Observing Network, which places high quality and well sited sensors directly on the coast. Navigational Aids, Piers, and Jetties are among the most popular mounting platforms to collect representative readings over the water or at the water's edge.
The costs of the network are spread through a variety of novel partnerships, applications, and projects. New technologies have enabled additional parameters to be added as well as installations in more remote locations through coastal U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean. Through key public/private partnerships, the WeatherFlow Coastal Mesonet continues to fill data gaps identified by NOAA and the USCG and has become a powerful tool for more timely watches/warnings, improved Search and Rescue decisions, and marine forecast/ model verification.
The Network has grown to more than 440 stations, with an average reporting interval of 5 minutes and high reliability. Each station is sited by WeatherFlow Meteorologists and custom installed to provide the best available representation of the conditions in an area. The Network also includes 89 hurricane hardened stations that have further contributed to the Network’s increasing usage by NOAA and other partner agencies, especially during tropical events.
Recently, the Coastal Mesonet has been augmented by the incorporation of data from the WeatherFlow handheld wind and weather meters. Many of these “onsite reports” are from the coastal domain and with more than 7500 reports/month, they provide an additional and growing source of information for forecasters and decision makers. By mixing innovative technologies with a successful shared-cost business model, WeatherFlow continues to increase the density of reliable and relevant coastal observations, resulting in better forecasts and decisions for users of every type.