AgWeatherNet Station Tiers
Dave Brown, AgWeatherNet Director
Major network changes underway to provide improved weather data
AgWeatherNet is now initiating the systematic installation of meteorological towers at approximately 100 regionally representative locations in Washington. As of this writing, towers have been installed in Sunnyside, Mount Vernon, and Pullman, with Sunrise near Wenatchee scheduled for construction in September. In addition to standard relative humidity, solar radiation, and 2 m wind speed probes, these towers are equipped with aspirated radiation shields for greater air temperature accuracy, duplicate 1.5 m temperature sensors, a 9 m temperature sensor to detect inversions, dual rain gauges shielded by a wind screen, 10 m wind speed and direction, and soil temperature + water potential at 2 and 8 inches.
AgWeatherNet is evolving into a tiered network in order to:
- Increase the total number and spatial density of weather stations in the AWN network;
- Meet the weather data needs of different stakeholders;
- Deliver site-specific weather data, forecasts and decision-support tools; and
- Extend the AgWeatherNet footprint to neighboring Pacific Northwest (PNW) states.
Tier 0 - Federal Stations
Tier 1 AWN Mesonet Stations (~100) These higher-cost stations are configured to meet World Meteorological Organization standards. Support from a NOAA-funded National Mesonet Program (NMP) contract provides the funding to make these towers possible.
Tier 2 AWN Agrometeorology Stations (~150) More affordable, high quality, all-in-one Tier 2 weather stations allow AgWeatherNet to meet agricultural needs with a higher station density than would be possible with Tier 1 stations alone. Stations are installed at a standard meteorological height (1.5 m) at relatively level and unobstructed sites.
Tier 3 Private Weather Stations Tier 3 stations can be distinguished in three key ways: (1) stations are purchased, installed and maintained by private parties; (2) stations may be located in Oregon or Idaho; and (3) stations may be placed within crop canopies to capture site-specific rather than regional weather conditions.
AgWeatherNet has experimented with ingesting private weather station data for the past two years, and will actively promote this option for the 2021 season. Equipment requirements, placement guidance, and related information will be published in October of 2020.
Tier Representation Different station tiers are represented on the AWN station map with slightly different map symbols, as shown in the figure to the right.
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