GEAR UP Visits AgWeatherNet

Washington State University's AgWeatherNet (AWN) program welcomed students from Chiawana and Pasco High participating in GEAR UP to the Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center (IAREC) in Prosser June 16, 2014.

Dr. Gerrit Hoogenboom (Director) and Dr. Melba Salazar (Assistant Research Professor) introduced students to the AWN program, which operates the largest University weather network in the country, including more than 150 automated weather stations. Students learned how weather data is collected using high precision sensors and how the weather observations are accumulated as a long term data set available to researchers for developing weather-driven models and decision support tools. These tools and data are made available to the public through the AWN website (http://weather.wsu.edu) and other portals such as the WSU Decision Aid System (DAS,http://das.wsu.edu) to be used by the general public and agricultural stakeholders for a wide variety of purposes. Diseases, pests, crop yield, irrigation, crop damage and more are all influenced by the weather.

After visiting a working AWN weather station and the specialized calibration lab used by AWN to maintain equipment and ensure consistent high quality and reliable data, the Chiawana and Pasco High students were given a chance to work with that data themselves. Their task was to work in small teams and identify the warmest and coolest temperatures in the past several years at one of several locations. Coming together to examine the results as a group, it was shown that Washington's diversity of geography and terrain contribute to the existence of microclimates where larger scale weather patterns may not be representative of local conditions.

AWN would like thank the GEAR UP program and all of our visitors for the opportunity to demonstrate the value of Early Outreach, community partnership, continued education, research and University Extension.

Washington State University