It began as a cooperative project between researchers at the University of Utah and forecasters at the Salt Lake City National Weather Service Forecast Office to provide access to current weather observations in Utah. It has evolved into a cooperative project between researchers in the NOAA Cooperative Institute for Regional Prediction at the University of Utah and forecasters at NWS Offices around the west. MesoWest was renamed from the Utah Mesonet to reflect the expanded scope of this project.
MesoWest relies upon voluntary participation of federal, state, and local agencies and private firms to provide weather observations from weather observing networks around the west.
YES! RAWS observations from the BLM are transmitted as part of the MesoWest file and include the entire West.
YES! SNOTEL observations from the NRCS are transmitted as part of the MesoWest file and include the entire West.
Standard weather variables from automated sensors are typically reported, but the mix of sensors tends to vary as a function of the needs of the agency that installed the equipment. Attention has been focussed more on wind, temperature, moisture, and pressure than precipitaiton.
LDADS software in AWIPS makes it possible to overlay surface observations on satellite, radar, or model output. MesoWest is simply another source for surface observations. Mesonet data streams can also be incorporated into MSAS analyses.
We intend to insure that the MesoWest data are as reliable as possible. However, it should be viewed as an experimental product. Occasional outages should be expected, most likely late at night and on weekends.
Look first on the Mesonet web page http://mesowest.utah.edu/ for further details. Or use the mailing list: firstname.lastname@example.org. Your questions or comments will be addressed by the appropriate individual.
Agencies and firms either collect the data and make it available via the Internet or allow direct dialing of weather stations. Some stations are accessed every 5 minutes, many every 15 minutes, even more once per hour, and some are collected every few hours or once per day.
Mesonet data are currently processed every 15 minutes at the University of Utah. A small (less than 100kb) file is transmitted via LDM to the Western Region Wide Area Network for distribution to interested forecast offices. LDADS software is then run to convert the surface observations into netCDF format for display in AWIPS.
Conservatively, new observations should appear within 30 minutes of when they were valid.
The quality of some of the data is being monitored continuously at the University of Utah by automated procedures. However, the quality control flags are not incorporated into the AWIPS data file at this time. Stations with known problems can be blacklisted from displays through existing LDADS software.
Use of the Mesonet data is just beginning, and several annoying features have already been identified and relayed to programmers of the LDADS and AWIPS software.
Representatives of the agencies that provide the weather information reaffirmed the following disclaimer during November 1999.
Data provided by MesoWest arise from cooperative arrangements with many different agencies and commercial firms. The data are intended to be used by personnel in governmental agencies to protect lives and property and by the public for general information. The data may also be used for research and educational purposes. Any other uses of the data from one or more stations must receive written approval from the agencies that installed the weather sensors. Contact the NOAA Cooperative Institute for Regional Prediction to receive information on the sources of the data.
Due to the nature of data transmission across the Internet and other communication factors, the information provided by MesoWest may not always be current. No warranties are expressed or implied regarding the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information provided by MesoWest. Data users are cautioned to consider the provisional nature of the data before using it for decision making.
Send email to the Mesowest mailing list for assistance. We're very interested in identifying and incorporating additional local resources.
The LDM server-client software running at each WFO can be used to broadcast local observations to other offices. Testing is underway to demonstrate how offices can share local data.