In January 2014, the Department of Homeland Security established the New York State Early Warning Weather Detection System. The centerpiece of the system is the New York State Mesonet, a network of 125 weather stations across the state, with at least one site in every county. Each site will measure temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, pressure, radiation, and soil information. Special subsets of 17 sites will provide additional atmospheric data in the vertical (up to 2 miles above ground), flux (the amount of heat and moisture exchange near the ground) and snow depth information. All data will be collected, archived, and processed in real-time, feeding weather prediction models and decision-support tools for users across the greater New York region.
The New York State Mesonet, when completed, will consist of 125 stations across the state. Each station will house a suite of automated sensors, sampling data every 3 to 30 seconds. Data are then packaged into 5 minute averages, and then transmitted in real-time to a central facility located at the University at Albany (UAlbany). At UAlbany, data from all sites are quality-controlled, and then processed into files which are then disseminated to customers for use in forecasting and decision-making.
The New York State Mesonet is designed, implemented and operated by scientists at the State University of New York at Albany with support from the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services.
The Mesonet will provide four-dimensional imagery of the weather, allowing more accurate, more reliable forecasts and decision-making.
Emergency managers will have access to immediate weather information across urban and rural New York, making for safer, more effective disaster preparation and response.
As an “end-to-end” system, the New York State Mesonet provides a truly unique learning environment, with research activities ranging from the physical sciences (climate, micrometeorology, instrumentation, numerical weather prediction) to computer science, mathematics, economics, and sociology.
Data from the Mesonet are expected to save millions of dollars through more efficient, more cost-effective road weather mitigation, aviation services, agricultural practices, and energy production.