286 The South Alabama Mesonet—Impacts on the North-Central Gulf Coast Community

Monday, 8 January 2018
Exhibit Hall 3 (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Sytske Kimball, Univ. of South Alabama, Mobile, AL; and W. D. Terwey, S. Schultze, and N. S. Grondin

The South Alabama Mesonet is a network of 25 weather stations located in south and southwest Alabama as well as neighboring counties in Mississippi and Florida. This Mesonet is run on just one sustained funding source, by a team of faculty, staff, and students who all work for the Mesonet on a part-time basis. Station maintenance and data quality assurance procedures will be presented, as will data uses in the community.

Over several years of trial and error an optimal process of involving undergraduate students in weather station maintenance has been devised. A 5-year plan exists to ensure continued quality and upgrades of station instrumentation and data communication. Data is disseminated primarily via a website which includes specialized products for certain user groups.

The Mesonet is promoted in the community via news coverage, a dedicated Facebook page, and through presentations in the community. Over time, the word is spreading and more users are being acquired. South Alabama Mesonet users include fire departments, farmers, researchers, the education section, and litigation. Specific Mesonet users and applications will be highlighted. For example, it has been shown that Mesonet stations pick up microclimate influences that are not picked up by the highly idealized locations where you find ASOS stations. The Mesonet stations are also not subject to urban heat islands as much as ASOS sites.

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