Tuesday, 11 February 2003: 2:00 PM
Operations of the joint USDA/OCE/WAOB and MSU/DREC Agricultural Weather and Data Center
In May 1998, Mississippi State University (MSU)/Delta Research and Extension Center (DREC) established a Weather/GIS Data Center. Located in Stoneville, Mississippi, DREC is one of the largest agricultural experiment stations in the world, situated on some of the best agricultural lands in the Yazoo Mississippi Delta. The Data Center was established to ensure the collection and archival of vital agricultural weather data in the Mississippi Delta in order to meet the local demands for adequate coverage of agricultural weather information needed in research and production agriculture. Coincidentally, at the same time, the USDA/Office of the Chief Economist/World Agricultural Outlook Board (USDA/OCE/WAOB), with the support of Congress, embarked on a program to build a National Agricultural Weather Observing Network (NAWON). One of the objectives of NAWON is to deploy weather instrumentation at carefully selected agricultural sites, especially in areas where NWS information is not available. A WAOB field office was established in Stoneville, in October 1998, as part of NAWON. The Stoneville Field Office is co-located with the DREC-Weather/GIS Data Center. The purpose of this joint office is to collect, quality control, and manage agricultural weather data and make it available to the public and private sector. Partnerships with other institutions engaged in agricultural weather activities have grown to include USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)/National Water and Climate Center (NWCC), the states of Missouri, Alabama, and Iowa, and the Regional Climate Centers (RCC's). In order to fill the gaps in coverage of agricultural weather data, an automated weather station (AWS) network was deployed in the Delta, consisting of Campbell Scientific and Soil Climate Analysis Network (SCAN) sites. A meteor burst master receiving station was built in 2000, to help receive data transmitted by the Delta SCAN sites as well as the sixty-six SCAN sites nationwide. Agricultural weather data and derived products are provided over the Internet, including weather and climatic data, geographic queries, crop progress information based on accumulated growing degree-days, and GIS products. The Stoneville Field Office also compiles a table of weekly "Weather Data for Mississippi and the Missouri Bootheel" for publication in the Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin produced by the NOAA/USDA/Joint Agricultural Weather Facility.