Kansas Mesonet continues to grow and improve
The Kansas Mesonet has two new stations in operation – Elmdale 1SE in Chase County, and Belleville 1W, in Republic County. The Elmdale station provides coverage in an area that was severely lacking weather-monitoring equipment (Figure 1).
Figure 1. Elmdale 1SE station (via mesonet.ksu.edu/metadata)
The Belleville station represents an upgrade for the Scandia Experiment Field tripod installation. The new tower, located on the Belleville site, adds an additional upper level (30-feet) wind and temperature information (Figure 2). An additional temperature sensor at a higher height provides data for inversion monitoring. The Belleville station also adds a dual rain gauge and soil moisture measurements compared to the previous Scandia station – matching the other Mesonet towers located through the state. At the end of this growing season, the Scandia Mesonet station will be discontinued.
Figure 2. Belleville 2W station (via mesonet.ksu.edu/metadata)
Additional stations will be available in the coming months. A station has been installed in Clark County and is the next one scheduled to come on-line.
The Mesonet station metadata webpage has also been enhanced. The intent of this update is to provide context to help users further understand the influences and history of the meteorological observations.
All stations are under stringent citing requirements via the World Meteorological Organization standards. However, minor influences such as ground cover type, distant obstructions, and changes over time are hard to disseminate with a few details. Therefore, we have added an interactive map, additional instrumentation details, and photos (Figure 3).
Figure 3. New metadata webpage found at mesonet.ksu.edu/metadata.
With photos being the biggest descriptor, the technician is required to take a minimum of four photos each station visit. The user can select previous trips and see the changes with seasonal and historical changes.
Figure 4. Photos are provided looking towards each cardinal direction and selectable by visit in the top right of the screen. Metadata page can be found at mesonet.ksu.edu/metadata.
Lastly, we also added an opportunity to recognize groups/individuals that have provided yearly maintenance funding for a particular station. These “sponsors” help make the data possible over the years and we are always looking for more!
Improvements to the main page
The main page (mesonet.k-state.edu) provides the entrance point to all of our resources. Clicking on the “24-hr Precip” tab now shows not only station observations, but also an overlay of estimated rainfall for the past 24 hours. This gives a sense of rainfall in areas not covered by our stations, as well as some context for those times when nearby stations have very different measurements. The overlay comes from the National Weather Service Quantitative Precipitation Estimates and is calculated from radar data. Click the “About Map” button to get the time of update and find a link to the national precipitation map (Figure 5).
Figure 5. Precipitation overlay (mesonet.ksu.edu)
If you do not see anything as an overlay, it is because the precipitation was too little to be captured by the model. You can click on the “About this map” tab and follow the links to the national product. This will allow you to see what areas of the country did have precipitation.
Interactive wind barb feature
The “Wind” map shows the current wind speed and direction in a “wind barb”. If you have been wondering how to read this symbol, we have a new link to our Wind Barbs page. Below the map, click “About This Map” and then “Interactive Wind Barbs Page”. You can use the inputs to change wind direction or speed and see how the barb reacts (Figure 6).
Figure 6. Interactive Wind Bar (http://mesonet.k-state.edu/about/windbarbs/)
Questions? Problems? Please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact one of us directly.
Chip Redmond, Weather Data Library/Mesonet
Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library/Mesonet
Dan Regier, Weather Data Library/Mesonet