Tiers and Sites

Station Site Categories

  • Regional
  • Regional sites capture regional meteorological conditions with relatively level terrain, minimal influence of nearby obstructions (e.g. trees or buildings), no irrigation influence, and a natural grass ground cover.
  • Microclimate
  • Some sites are not representative of the surrounding region, but nonetheless capture an important microclimate. For example, the Snipes Mountain station is located at a much higher elevation than surrounding land, but provides a good indicator of inversion strength.
  • In-field
  • Weather conditions within an orchard or other irrigated crop might be quite different than surrounding areas—and more relevant for grower decisions. In-field sites are intended to capture conditions within a crop canopy.
  • Poor
  • Some current station sites don’t meet any of the three criteria outlined above, generally due to poor placement near buildings, bin stacks, or over gravel. AgWeatherNet staff are working to re-site or remove these stations.

Station Tiers

  • Tier 0 – Federal Stations
  • USBR Agrimet stations are configured similar to AWN Tier 1b stations below. The Bureau of Reclamation maintains these stations, applies QA/QC procedures, and provides a data feed to AWN. These are generally sited to capture regional conditions.
  • Tier 1 – AWN mesonet stations
  • Tier 1 stations are configured to meet Mesonet professional or professional plus standards with research-grade sensors connected to a Campbell logger, a replicate air temperature sensors, one or more solar panels, a deep discharge lead-acid battery for continuous power, and a cell modem for remote telemetry. These stations are purchased, installed and maintained by AgWeatherNet.
  • Most Tier 1 stations are located on regional sites, but a few capture important microclimates. Some problematic 1b stations need to be re-sited.
    • Tier 1b – Meteorological Tripod or single post stations
    • This is the standard station configuration AWN has installed and supported since 2006. All meteorological sensors are at a height of 1.5-2 m.
    • Tier 1a – Meterological Towers
    • Key features of towers include: aspirated air temperature sensor shields (greater accuracy), air temperature at 9 m to detect low-level inversions, wind speed and direction at 10 m (in addition to wind speed at 2 m), and soil water potential and temperature at 8 and 16 inches. AgWeatherNet is working to transition all Tier 1 stations to towers over the next five years.
  • Tier 2 – AWN all-in-one stations
  • Tier 2 all-in-one stations allow AWN to cost-effectively expand the network beyond what would be possible with Tier 1 stations alone. The data quality for METER Atmos 41 stations is comparable to Tier 1 stations in most respects and more than sufficient for most agricultural decision-support purposes. These stations are purchased, installed and maintained by AgWeatherNet.
  • Most Tier 2 stations are placed on regional sites, though generally not as ideal as Tier 1 sites or lacking sufficient space for tower installation. Some capture important microclimates.
  • Tier 3 – Private all-in-one stations
  • Private stations meeting AgWeatherNet hardware, maintenance and data feed requirements can be connected to the AWN network for site-specific delivery of weather-related decision-support tools.
  • The goal of incorporating Tier 3 stations is to allow growers to monitor site-specific microclimatic conditions and/or in-field conditions relevant to their operations.
    • Tier 3a – open access
    • By default, private stations are accessible to all AgWeatherNet users.
    • Tier 3b – restricted access
    • Private station owners can opt to restrict access to their stations on AgWeatherNet platforms. To utilize these stations for AWN decision-support, users must provide a station-specific, AWN-generated key code.
    • AWN staff will move inadequately maintained Tier 3a stations to Tier 3b status.
Washington State University