Oklahoma Mesonet

Last updated
Oklahoma Mesonet
Oklahoma Mesonet Logo.jpg
Approved1990
Funded1991 [1]
CommissionedJanuary 1, 1994;25 years ago (1994-01-01)
Headquarters National Weather Center in Norman, OK
Partners University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University
Website http://mesonet.org

The Oklahoma Mesonet is a network of environmental monitoring stations designed to measure the environment at the size and duration of mesoscale weather events. The phrase "mesonet" is a portmanteau of the words mesoscale and network. In meteorology, “mesoscale” refers to weather events that range in size from approximately 1 mile (1.6 km) to 150 miles (240 km) and can last from several minutes to several hours. Mesoscale events include thunderstorms, wind gusts, heat bursts, and dry lines. Without densely spaced weather observations, these mesoscale events might go undetected. In addition to surface weather observations, Oklahoma Mesonet stations also include environmental data such as on insolation and soil conditions, and some sites are co-located with wind profilers.

Environmental monitoring describes the processes and activities that need to take place to characterise and monitor the quality of the environment. Environmental monitoring is used in the preparation of environmental impact assessments, as well as in many circumstances in which human activities carry a risk of harmful effects on the natural environment. All monitoring strategies and programmes have reasons and justifications which are often designed to establish the current status of an environment or to establish trends in environmental parameters. In all cases the results of monitoring will be reviewed, analysed statistically and published. The design of a monitoring programme must therefore have regard to the final use of the data before monitoring starts.

Weather Short-term state of the atmosphere

Weather is the state of the atmosphere, describing for example the degree to which it is hot or cold, wet or dry, calm or stormy, clear or cloudy. Most weather phenomena occur in the lowest level of the atmosphere, the troposphere, just below the stratosphere. Weather refers to day-to-day temperature and precipitation activity, whereas climate is the term for the averaging of atmospheric conditions over longer periods of time. When used without qualification, "weather" is generally understood to mean the weather of Earth.

Mesonet

In meteorology, a mesonet, portmanteau of mesoscale network, is a network of (typically) automated weather and environmental monitoring stations designed to observe mesoscale meteorological phenomena. Dry lines, squall lines, and sea breezes are examples of phenomena that can be observed by mesonets. Due to the space and time scales associated with mesoscale phenomena, weather stations comprising a mesonet will be spaced closer together and report more frequently than synoptic scale observing networks, such as ASOS. The term mesonet refers to the collective group of these weather stations, and are typically owned and operated by a common entity. Mesonets usually record in situ surface weather observations but some involve other observation platforms, particularly vertical profiles of the planetary boundary layer (PBL).

Contents

The network consists of 121 automated stations covering Oklahoma and each of Oklahoma's counties has at least one station. [2] At each site, the environment is measured by a set of instruments located on or near a 10-meter (33 ft)-tall tower. The measurements are packaged into “observations” and transmitted to a central facility every 5 minutes, 24 hours per day, every day of the year.

Oklahoma Mesonet is a cooperative venture between Oklahoma State University (OSU) and the University of Oklahoma (OU) and is supported by the taxpayers of Oklahoma. It is headquartered at the National Weather Center (NWC) on the OU campus.

University of Oklahoma public research university in Norman, Oklahoma, United States

The University of Oklahoma (OU) is a public research university in Norman, Oklahoma. Founded in 1890, it had existed in Oklahoma Territory near Indian Territory for 17 years before the two became the state of Oklahoma. In Fall 2018 the university had 31,702 students enrolled, most at its main campus in Norman. Employing nearly 3,000 faculty members, the school offers 152 baccalaureate programs, 160 master's programs, 75 doctorate programs, and 20 majors at the first professional level. David Boren, a former U.S. Senator and Oklahoma Governor, served as the university's president from 1994 to 2018. James L. Gallogly succeeded Boren on July 1, 2018.

National Weather Center

The National Weather Center (NWC), on the campus of the University of Oklahoma, is a confederation of federal, state, and academic organizations that work together to better understand events that take place in Earth's atmosphere over a wide range of time and space scales. The NWC partners give equal attention to applying that understanding to the development of improved observation, analysis, assimilation, display, and prediction systems. The National Weather Center also has expertise in local and regional climate, numerical modeling, hydrology, and weather radar. Members of the NWC work with a wide range of federal, state, and local government agencies to help reduce loss of life and property to hazardous weather, ensure wise use of water resources, and enhance agricultural production. They also work with private sector partners to develop new applications of weather and regional climate information that provide competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Observations are available free of charge to the public.

Background

According to the Tulsa World , creation of the Oklahoma Mesonet resulted from the inability of emergency management officials to plan for the May 26–27, 1984 flood that killed 14 people in the Tulsa area. The 1984 flood demonstrated that emergency managers could not receive accurate and adequate data quickly enough about the progress of flooding from airport radars, updated hourly. The University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University collaborated with the Climatological Survey and other public and private agencies to create the Oklahoma Mesonet. This system collects weather information (e.g., wind speed, rainfall, temperature) every 5 minutes from 121 Mesonet stations throughout Oklahoma. Emergency planners can now monitor up-to-date weather information in advance of the arrival of an approaching storm. [3] The article quoted an official of the Tulsa Area Emergency Management as saying that his staff uses the Oklahoma Mesonet every day. [3]

<i>Tulsa World</i> newspaper in Tulsa, Oklahoma

The Tulsa World is the daily newspaper for the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and primary newspaper for the northeastern and eastern portions of Oklahoma. Tulsa World Media Company is part of BH Media Group, a Berkshire Hathaway company owned by Warren Buffett. The printed edition is the second-most circulated newspaper in the state, after The Oklahoman. It was founded in 1905 and locally owned by the Lorton family for almost 100 years until February 2013, when it was sold to BH Media Group. In the early 1900s, the World fought an editorial battle in favor of building a reservoir on Spavinaw Creek, in addition to opposing the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s. The paper was jointly operated with the Tulsa Tribune from 1941 to 1992.

Meteorological stations

The Oklahoma Mesonet consists of 121 remote stations across Oklahoma with at least one station in each of Oklahoma's 77 counties. Each Oklahoma Mesonet station is contained within a 10 m × 10 m (33 ft × 33 ft) plot of land. Stations reside on a variety of locations including: University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University Research land, academic and foundation sites, federal/state/city land, airports, and privately owned property.

Each site is visited at least three times per year during one of the Spring, Summer, and Fall passes. Sites are also visited by site technicians when there is a problem with a sensor or with communications. Additionally, sites are visited by a vegetation technician to ensure that the station is not overgrown by native plants. All sites generate their own electricity from solar panels and communicate mainly via radios on the Oklahoma Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (OLETS).

Instruments

The Oklahoma Mesonet utilizes a variety of meteorological instruments to collect its observations. Observations are collected through a data logger within an enclosure and transmitted back to the National Weather Center for quality assurance, archival, and public dissemination.

Wind measurements

Moisture measurements

Soil temperature measurements

Other measurements

Variables measured

Every five minutes

Relative humidity

Relative humidity (RH) is the ratio of the partial pressure of water vapor to the equilibrium vapor pressure of water at a given temperature. Relative humidity depends on temperature and the pressure of the system of interest. The same amount of water vapor results in higher relative humidity in cool air than warm air. A related parameter is that of dewpoint.

Earth rainfall climatology

Earth rainfall climatology Is the study of rainfall, a sub-field of Meteorology. Formally, a wider study includes water falling as ice crystals, i.e. hail, sleet, snow. The aim of rainfall climatology is to measure, understand and predict rain distribution across different regions of planet Earth, a factor of air pressure, humidity, topography, cloud type and raindrop size, via direct measurement and remote sensing data acquisition. Current technologies accurately predict rainfall 3–4 days in advance using numerical weather prediction. Geostationary orbiting satellites gather IR and visual wavelength data to measure realtime localised rainfall by estimating cloud albedo, water content, and the corresponding probability of rain. Geographic distribution of rain is largely governed by climate type, topography and habitat humidity. In mountainous areas, heavy precipitation is possible where upslope flow is maximized within windward sides of the terrain at elevation. On the leeward side of mountains, desert climates can exist due to the dry air caused by compressional heating. The movement of the monsoon trough, or intertropical convergence zone, brings rainy seasons to savannah climes. The urban heat island effect leads to increased rainfall, both in amounts and intensity, downwind of cities. Global warming may also cause changes in the precipitation pattern globally, including wetter conditions at high latitudes and in some wet tropical areas, and drier conditions in parts of the subtropics and middle latitudes. Precipitation is a major component of the water cycle, and is responsible for depositing most of the fresh water on the planet. Approximately 505,000 cubic kilometres (121,000 cu mi) of water falls as precipitation each year; 398,000 cubic kilometres (95,000 cu mi) of it over the oceans. Given the Earth's surface area, that means the globally averaged annual precipitation is 990 millimetres (39 in). Climate classification systems such as the Köppen climate classification system use average annual rainfall to help differentiate between differing climate regimes.

Atmospheric pressure, sometimes also called barometric pressure, is the pressure within the atmosphere of Earth. The standard atmosphere is a unit of pressure defined as 1013.25 mbar (101325 Pa), equivalent to 760 mmHg (torr), 29.9212 inches Hg, or 14.696 psi. The atm unit is roughly equivalent to the mean sea-level atmospheric pressure on Earth, that is, the Earth's atmospheric pressure at sea level is approximately 1 atm.

Every 15 minutes

Every 30 minutes

Records

The following are records measured by the Oklahoma Mesonet since January 1, 1996. [4]

Temperature

Rainfall

Wind speed

Products

The Oklahoma Mesonet produces many products public use. Every five minutes, maps of all of the meteorological variables are updated to show the latest observations. Users can also look at time series plots of a station (called meteograms [5] ) over a given period of time. Quality assured data files [6] are available to be downloaded. Historical data can be plotted using the Oklahoma Mesonet's Long Term Average tools. [7] [8]

Programs

The Oklahoma Mesonet runs a variety of programs [9] to assist the public.

Mobile applications

The Oklahoma Mesonet data can be viewed on iOS and Android smartphones through the use of the Mesonet's free application.

Features:

Download:

See also

Related Research Articles

Weather station set of sensors that record and provide physical measurements and meteorological parameters

A weather station is a facility, either on land or sea, with instruments and equipment for measuring atmospheric conditions to provide information for weather forecasts and to study the weather and climate. The measurements taken include temperature, atmospheric pressure, humidity, wind speed, wind direction, and precipitation amounts. Wind measurements are taken with as few other obstructions as possible, while temperature and humidity measurements are kept free from direct solar radiation, or insolation. Manual observations are taken at least once daily, while automated measurements are taken at least once an hour. Weather conditions out at sea are taken by ships and buoys, which measure slightly different meteorological quantities such as sea surface temperature (SST), wave height, and wave period. Drifting weather buoys outnumber their moored versions by a significant amount.

Severe thunderstorm warning

A severe thunderstorm warning is issued by the National Weather Service when trained storm spotters or Doppler weather radar indicate that a thunderstorm is producing or will soon produce dangerously large hail or high winds, capable of causing significant damage. In the United States, severe thunderstorm warnings do not account for lightning, a significant hazard in any thunderstorm, or flooding caused by a thunderstorm's extreme rainfall. A similar warning is issued by Environment Canada's Meteorological Service of Canada from their offices in Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto, Montreal and Dartmouth. Skywarn issues the severe thunderstorm warnings for the United Kingdom. Just as in the United States, lightning does not warrant a severe thunderstorm warning. In Australia, severe thunderstorm warnings are issued by the Bureau of Meteorology for all Australian states.

National Weather Service United States weather agency

The National Weather Service (NWS) is an agency of the United States federal government that is tasked with providing weather forecasts, warnings of hazardous weather, and other weather-related products to organizations and the public for the purposes of protection, safety, and general information. It is a part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) branch of the Department of Commerce, and is headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland, within the Washington metropolitan area. The agency was known as the United States Weather Bureau from 1890 until it adopted its current name in 1970.

Storm Prediction Center sub-agency of the United States National Weather Service

The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) is a government agency that is part of the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP), operating under the control of the National Weather Service (NWS), which in turn is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the United States Department of Commerce (DoC).

This is a list of meteorology topics. The terms relate to meteorology, the interdisciplinary scientific study of the atmosphere that focuses on weather processes and forecasting.

The National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) is a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather research laboratory under the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research. It is one of seven NOAA Research Laboratories (RLs).

In meteorology, a heat burst is a rare atmospheric phenomenon characterized by gusty winds along with a rapid increase in temperature and decrease in dew point (moisture). Heat bursts typically occur during night-time and are associated with decaying thunderstorms.

This article describes severe weather terminology used by the National Weather Service (NWS) in the United States. The NWS, a government agency operating as an arm of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) branch of the United States Department of Commerce (DoC), defines precise meanings for nearly all of its weather terms. This article describes NWS terminology and related weather scales used by the agency. Some terms may be specific to certain cities or regions.

Mesoscale convective system complex of thunderstorms organized on a larger scale

A mesoscale convective system (MCS) is a complex of thunderstorms that becomes organized on a scale larger than the individual thunderstorms but smaller than extratropical cyclones, and normally persists for several hours or more. A mesoscale convective system's overall cloud and precipitation pattern may be round or linear in shape, and include weather systems such as tropical cyclones, squall lines, lake-effect snow events, polar lows, and Mesoscale Convective Complexes (MCCs), and generally form near weather fronts. The type that forms during the warm season over land has been noted across North America, Europe, and Asia, with a maximum in activity noted during the late afternoon and evening hours.

Climate of Sydney

The climate of Sydney is humid subtropical, shifting from mild and cool in winter to warm and hot in the summer, with no extreme seasonal differences as the weather is moderated by proximity to the ocean, although more contrasting temperatures are recorded in the inland western suburbs. Despite the fact that there is no distinct dry or wet season, rainfall peaks in the first half of the year and is at its lowest in the second half. Precipitation varies across the region, with areas adjacent to the coast being the wettest. The city receives around 20 thunderstorms per year.

Climate of Florida

The climate of the north and central parts of the US state of Florida is humid subtropical. South Florida has a tropical climate. There is a defined rainy season from May through October, when air mass thundershowers that build in the heat of the day drop heavy but brief summer rainfall. Late summer and early fall bring decaying tropical lows that contribute to late summer and early fall rains.

Climate of New Zealand

The climate of New Zealand is varied due to the country's diverse landscape. Most regions of New Zealand belong to the temperate zone with a maritime climate characterised by four distinct seasons. The main contributing factors are the Pacific Ocean and latitude, although the mountain ranges can cause significant climate variations in locations barely tens of kilometres from each other. Conditions vary from extremely wet on the West Coast of the South Island to almost semi-arid in Central Otago and subtropical in Northland.

Wake low

A wake low, or wake depression, is a mesoscale low-pressure area which trails the mesoscale high following a squall line. Due to the subsiding warm air associated with the systems formation, clearing skies are associated with the wake low. Once difficult to detect in surface weather observations due to their broad spacing, the formation of mesoscale weather station networks, or mesonets, has increased their detection. Severe weather, in the form of high winds, can be generated by the wake low when the pressure difference between the mesohigh preceding it and the wake low is intense enough. When the squall line is in the process of decay, heat bursts can be generated near the wake low. Once new thunderstorm activity along the squall line concludes, the wake low associated with it weakens in tandem.

MesoWest is an ongoing cooperative project, started in 1996, to provide access to current and archive weather observations across the United States. Weather observations include but are not limited to: temperature, humidity, wind speed, wind direction, and precipitation. Data are collected from a variety of organizations. Some stations participate in voluntary weather observing networks such as the Citizen Weather Observer Program. Others are part of mesonets that are managed by private firms or federal/state/local agencies. These data are available for a multitude of uses. Over 20,000 weather stations actively report to the MesoWest database.

Hurricane Paine (1986) Category 2 Pacific hurricane in 1986

Hurricane Paine contributed to one of the most significant flooding events in Oklahoma history. The 16th tropical storm and 8th hurricane of the 1986 Pacific hurricane season, Paine formed on September 28 off the southeast coast of Mexico. It moved around a ridge, later turning to the north and brushing the Baja California Peninsula. By that time, Paine had attained peak winds of 100 mph (155 km/h), but it weakened slightly before hitting the Mexican state of Sonora. The remnant moisture combined with a cold front to produce heavy rainfall in the south-central United States.

The climate of Islamabad is a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification, with five seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer, Rainy Monsoon and Autumn. The hottest month is June, where average highs routinely exceed 38 °C. The wettest month is July, with heavy rainfall and evening thunderstorms with the possibility of cloudburst. The coolest month is January, with temperatures variable by location. In Islamabad, temperatures vary from cold to mild, routinely dropping below zero. In the hills there is sparse snowfall. The weather ranges from a minimum of −3.9 °C in January to a maximum of 46.1 °C in June. The average low is 2 °C in January, while the average high is 38.1 °C in June. The highest temperature recorded was 46.5 °C in June, while the lowest temperature was −4 °C in January. On 23 July 2001, Islamabad received a record breaking 620 millimetres of rain fell in just 10 hours. It was the heaviest rainfall in 24 hours in Islamabad and at any locality in Pakistan during the past 100 years. Following is the weather observed over Islamabad Airport, which is actually located in Rawalpindi.

2010 New Years Eve tornado outbreak

The 2010 New Year's Eve tornado outbreak was a three-day-long tornado outbreak that impacted the central and lower Mississippi Valley from December 30, 2010 to January 1, 2011. Associated with a low pressure system and a strong cold front, 37 tornadoes tracked across five states over the length of the severe event, killing nine and injuring several others. Activity was centered in the states of Missouri and later Mississippi on December 31. Seven tornadoes were rated EF3 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale; these were the strongest during the outbreak. Non-tornadic winds were recorded to have reached as high as 80 mph (130 km/h) at eight locations on December 31, while hail as large as 2.75 in (7.0 cm) was documented north-northeast of Mansfield, Missouri. Overall, damage from the outbreak totaled US$123.3 million, most of which was related to tornadoes.

The 2011 North American heat wave was a deadly summer 2011 heat wave that affected the Southern Plains, Midwestern United States, Eastern Canada, Northeastern United States, and much of the Eastern Seaboard, and had Heat index/Humidex readings reaching upwards of 131 °F (55 °C). On a national basis, the heat wave was the hottest in 75 years.

2015 Texas–Oklahoma flood and tornado outbreak

Preceded by more than a week of heavy rain, a slow-moving storm system dropped tremendous precipitation across much of Texas and Oklahoma during the nights of May 24–26, 2015, triggering record-breaking floods. Additionally, many areas reported tornado activity and lightning. Particularly hard hit were areas along the Blanco River in Hays County, Texas, where entire blocks of homes were leveled. On the morning of May 26, the National Weather Service issued a flash flood emergency for southwest Harris County and northeast Fort Bend County. The system also produced deadly tornadoes in parts of Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma.

References

  1. "Multi-purpose weather monitor system at home in Oklahoma" . Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  2. McPherson, R. A., C. Fiebrich, K. C. Crawford, R. L. Elliott, J. R. Kilby, D. L. Grimsley, J. E. Martinez, J. B. Basara, B. G. Illston, D. A. Morris, K. A. Kloesel, S. J. Stadler, A. D. Melvin, A.J. Sutherland, and H. Shrivastava, 2007: Statewide monitoring of the mesoscale environment: A technical update on the Oklahoma Mesonet. J. Atmos. Oceanic Tech., 24, 301–321. DOI: 10.1175/JTECH1976.1
  3. 1 2 Peterson, Althea. "Oklahoma Mesonet had roots in the 1984 Memorial weekend flooding." Tulsa World. May 27, 2014. Retrieved June 19, 2014.
  4. "Mesonet Top 20 Extremes". www.mesonet.org. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  5. "Mesonet - Meteogram for Norman". www.mesonet.org. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  6. "Mesonet - Past Data & Files". www.mesonet.org. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  7. "Mesonet - Long-Term Averages Graph". www.mesonet.org. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  8. "Mesonet - Long-Term Averages Maps". www.mesonet.org. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  9. "Mesonet - Programs". www.mesonet.org. Retrieved 5 November 2018.