While comparisons with similar sensors at Mesonet sites have demonstrated that the automated IRT sensors provide accurate measurements of skin temperature, it is uncertain whether a single point measurement of skin temperature can be used to provide information for regional meteorological studies. Thus, the goal of this study is to provide insight into the spatial and temporal variability of skin temperature surrounding Mesonet sites. Thus, during 2002, Mesonet sites were routinely visited and skin temperature conditions at the sites were collected with a handheld IRT. During each site visit, measurements were collected from 17 locations that were pre-chosen in a manner suitable to provide valuable information for both spatial averaging and correlation analysis.
Preliminary analysis indicates that the automated IRT measurements compare well with like sensors and field measurements. However, the results also demonstrate that the overall spatial variability of skin temperature at Mesonet sites can be quite large. In particular, the range of skin temperature measured at Mesonet sites occasionally exceeded 15 Celsius during daylight hours.