The New York State (NYS) Mesonet Early Warning Weather Detection System is an advanced, statewide observing network comprised of several stand-alone sub-networks (Standard, Profiler, Flux, and Snow), all operating together to provide real-time weather information for operational and research applications. The backbone of the Mesonet is the Standard Network.
The Standard Network is comprised of 126 stations, spaced an average 19 miles apart, with at least one Standard station located in each of New York’s 62 counties. Each Standard site consists of a 30 ft tower centered within a 33 ft x 33 ft plot of land and measures surface temperature at two levels (2 m and 9 m), relative humidity, wind speed and direction, precipitation, solar radiation, atmospheric pressure, snow depth, and soil moisture and temperature at three depths (5, 25, and 50 cm). Still photos are also collected. All observation samples are averaged and collected every 5 minutes. All data are transmitted in real-time to the University at Albany, where the data are quality controlled and archived, and then disseminated to a variety of users.
The Standard network is designed to facilitate high-quality data collection, and to be robust, able to continue operations through high-impact events. A majority of stations are run off of solar power and communicate via cellular. All data are transmitted hourly via GOES as backup to the cellular grid, providing redundant communications across the network. Should all communications fail, stations continue to autonomously collect and store data locally until those data can be retrieved; up to one month of data can be stored onsite. Extensive efforts went into the network design and station siting to ensure that all sites, where possible, satisfied World Meteorological Organization (WMO) weather station standards. Finally, comprehensive metadata have been compiled and are made available online to ensure all data are used and represented properly.