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The Oklahoma Mesonet: Creating a Multi-Purpose Network Ronald L. Elliott Biosystems & Agricultural Engineering Dept. Oklahoma State University.

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Presentation on theme: "The Oklahoma Mesonet: Creating a Multi-Purpose Network Ronald L. Elliott Biosystems & Agricultural Engineering Dept. Oklahoma State University."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Oklahoma Mesonet: Creating a Multi-Purpose Network Ronald L. Elliott Biosystems & Agricultural Engineering Dept. Oklahoma State University

2 Topics To Be Addressed What is the Oklahoma Mesonet? How did the Oklahoma Mesonet come to be?

3 What is the Oklahoma Mesonet? A multi-purpose, statewide, environmental monitoring network A unique information infrastructure emphasizing value-added applications An active partnership between Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma A successful model for inter-agency cooperation A valuable resource that is meeting important state needs A state-of-the-art network that is recognized nationally and internationally

4 The Physical Network

5 Remote Stations (data collection) 115 Mesonet stations –at least one in each of Oklahoma’s 77 counties –average station spacing = approx. 30 km 42 USDA-ARS Micronet stations (reduced set of sensors) –research watershed near Chickasha –average station spacing = approx. 5 km

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7 Self-reliant, 2-way communications Solar powered Data storage capacity: from ~5 to nearly 30 days Self-Contained Sites

8 Variables Measured at All Mesonet Stations Air temperature (1.5 m) Relative humidity (1.5 m) Rainfall Atmospheric pressure Solar radiation Wind speed & direction (10 m) Soil temperature under bare soil and sod (10 cm)

9 Supplemental Measurements (~100 of the 115 stations) Air 9 m Wind 2 m Sod soil 5 and 30 cm Bare soil 5 cm Soil 2 to 4 depths (58 stations have all 4 soil moisture depths)

10 “OASIS” Measurements Research emphasis (surface energy balance) 90 “standard” sites 10 “super” sites

11 Equipment Deployed and Maintained More than 3000 sensors More than 1800 dataloggers/ radios/power systems/etc.

12 Maintenance Activities in 2001 Conducted 430 standardized “routine” site visits Acquired 4800 digital site photos Calibrated 1475 instruments in the laboratory Resolved 950 instrument “trouble tickets”

13 Communications Network (data transmission) Line-of-sight radio to/from OLETS Oklahoma Law Enforcement Telecommunications System –reliable –high bandwidth –two-way communications OLETS to/from Mesonet computers

14 Central Computers (data processing & sharing) Data ingest and “hole filling” software –1.15 million observations per day –99.8% archiving efficiency in 2001 Extensive data quality assurance routines More than 150 unique web-based products ~63,000 files per day ~1,500 web accounts ~33 million web hits in 2001

15 Oklahoma Climatological Survey Mesonet’s operational home State agency based on the OU campus in Norman Legislative mandate to acquire, process, and disseminate climate and weather information for use by the state's citizens

16 Topics To Be Addressed What is the Oklahoma Mesonet? How did the Oklahoma Mesonet come to be?

17 The Mesonet’s Timeline 1980’s Pre-funding phase Design-and-build phase 1994-present Operational phase

18 Early to Mid 1980’s Stillwater (OSU) –Established ad-hoc committee on Agro- Meteorological Systems –Sought to improve weather data availability for agricultural applications Norman (NWS, OU, NSSL) –Tulsa flood of 1984 stimulated thinking –Proposed concept of a statewide mesonetwork

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20 1987 Proponents in Stillwater and Norman became aware of each other’s interests Informal, cooperative, working team was quickly established

21 August 1988 Open meeting in Norman to present the Oklahoma Mesonetwork concept Preliminary proposal discussed Many organizations represented Very positive feedback

22 1988 – 1990 Refined the proposal Approached the Governor’s office Eventually were awarded $2 million in oil overcharge funds (via the Oklahoma Dept. of Commerce)

23 The Mesonet’s Timeline 1980’s Pre-funding phase Design-and-build phase 1994-present Operational phase

24 The Steering Committee 6 individuals with varied backgrounds Shared governance (OU & OSU) Empowered by university administration Meetings as needed Consensus decisions Prepared agendas, minutes, reports Shared vision and close working relationships

25 Current SC Members Ken Crawford (meteorologist) Ron Elliott (agricultural engineer) Howard Johnson (climatologist) Steve Stadler (geographer) Dave Stensrud (meteorologist) Al Sutherland (horticulturalist)

26 Previous SC Members Gerrit Cuperus (entomologist) Chuck Doswell (meteorologist) Jim Duthie (plant pathologist) Mike Eilts (meteorologist)

27 The Mesonet Manager Oversees day-to-day activities Technical & managerial responsibilities Reports to SC & OCS leadership

28 Mesonet Managers (listed chronologically) Fred Brock Tim Hughes Scott Richardson Chris Fiebrich

29 The Planning Subcommittees Helped ensure that good decisions were made Encouraged a sense of ownership in the system Were mission oriented Had a reasonably short life Interacted with related subcommittees Made recommendations to the steering committee

30 Subcommittee Themes Site Standards Site Selection Out-Year Funding Station Maintenance Quality Assurance Data Management Products/Dissemination Parameter Selection Sensor Specification User Fees/Data Sharing

31 Stakeholder Representation on Subcommittees Oklahoma State University University of Oklahoma U.S. Army Corps of Engineers U.S. Geological Survey USDA Agricultural Research Service USDA Soil Conservation Service National Severe Storms Laboratory National Weather Service Forecast Office NEXRAD Operational Support Facility Oklahoma Water Resources Board Stillwater Emergency Operations Center Private-sector meteorology

32 Retrospective Observations on Subcommittees All provided valuable input to the Steering Committee Subcommittee work led to enhanced awareness and buy-in by stakeholders Some topics were front-burner issues early on (site standards, site selection, etc.) Other topics tended to receive more focus at a later date (out-year funding, user fees, etc.)

33 Three Planning Forums April – June, 1991 Stillwater, Norman, Oklahoma City “an opportunity to learn of current plans for the Oklahoma Mesonet and to contribute towards its final design”

34 Some Technical Milestones March 1991 –Began data communications testing December 1991 –Installed first towers at field sites April 1992 –Established sensor calibration lab December 1992 –Received first FCC radio licenses July 1993 –Installed last of the original 108 stations

35 Some Programmatic Milestones September 1991 –OSU hired agricultural meteorologist (J. D. Carlson) June 1992 –NSF funded OCS’s EARTHSTORM educational outreach program August 1992 –Micronet cooperative agreement signed with USDA-ARS October 1993 –Installed first public display cabinet

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37 In 3 short years, the Mesonet team had …. Hired staff with a variety of expertise Found and leased (at no cost) 108 field sites Decided on the variables to be measured Performed in-house system integration Selected, purchased & installed sensors Developed & tested a data communications system Instituted maintenance & preliminary quality assurance procedures Developed value-added products and means of dissemination Stayed within budget!

38 The Mesonet’s Timeline 1980’s Pre-funding phase Design-and-build phase 1994-present Operational phase

39 Over the last 8 years ….. Evolution and maturation of procedures related to: –Site & equipment maintenance –Sensor calibration –Data ingest & processing –Data quality assurance –Software development –Serving the end user

40 Over the last 8 years …. Considerable effort has been expended in securing and solidifying operational funding.

41 Primary Funding Sources (for network operation) The Noble Foundation ( ) State agencies ( ) OU and OSU (1994-present) Federal partnerships (1994-present) Grants and contracts (1994-present) Legislature/Regents (1996-present) User fees (1996-present)

42 The vision of a multi-purpose network has been realized …. –Weather forecasting –Emergency management –Agriculture –Education –Research –Water resources –Energy management –Law enforcement & public safety –Transportation –Recreation –Etc.

43 The Oklahoma Mesonet is now: A proven resource On a firm financial footing Viewed as a model Poised for even greater service

44 For the Mesonet team, it’s been a long, challenging, exciting, and extremely rewarding journey.


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