Sharing the Knowledge: Mesonet Operations in the ‘Home of the World’s Worst Weather’

Objectives

To write a thorough technical overview of the Mount Washington Observatory Regional Mesonet (MWRM) with an emphasis on the unique challenges and adaptations involved in operating and maintaining mesonet stations in the region’s harsh alpine environments. This includes a comprehensive description of the sensors, siting criteria, site communication and power, maintenance, system applications, and considerations for targeted system-wide improvements.

Motivation and History

The WMRM has been in existence since 2004 with several stations coming online at once. Since that time, stations have been established and some decommissioned across a broad swath of the >1,200 square-miles White Mountain National Forest on a mixture of federal, state and private lands, at a variety of elevations.

The WMRM exists with limited and/or decentralized documentation regarding the system’s history and metadata, which has motivated a comprehensive documentation of this critical background information. Additionally, recent conversations, introductions and presentations to other statewide and regional mesonet representatives have motivated MWO staff to share information about how to build, power, manage and maintain mesonet stations in a challenging, mountainous environment with extreme wind, temperature and icing conditions.

External Relevance

This technical overview will add to the growing body of knowledge about mesonet management, and will serve to inform other existing or future mesonet operators who are interested in gathering high-quality data in challenging environments. Recent publications such as Patrignani et al. (2020) and Brotzge et al. (2020) have built on the existing literature of technical overviews of state or region-wide mesonets.

References

Patrignani, A., Knapp, M., Redmond, C., Santos, E., 2020: Technical Overview of the Kansas Mesonet. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology: J. Atmos. Oceanic Technol. 37, 12, 2167-2183, https://doi.org/10.1175/JTECH-D-19-0214.1

Brotzge, J.A., and CoAuthors, 2020: A Technical Overview of the New York State Mesonet Standard Network. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology: J. Atmos. Oceanic Technol. 37, 10, 1827-1845, https://doi.org/10.1175/JTECH-D-19-0220.1

CONTACT

Brian Fitzgerald, Director of Science & Education (603) 356-2137 ext. 225 bfitzgerald@mountwashington.org

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