Indiana meteorologists working to improve forecasts through data driven Mesonet

NOW: Indiana meteorologists working to improve forecasts through data driven Mesonet

Meteorologists and other weather enthusiasts from across Indiana want to fill in a map with weather data to improve forecasts – they want to build the Indiana Mesonet.

On Tuesday, Meteorologist Maci Tetrick attended a statewide conference in Plainfield, Indiana, hosted by the Indiana Climate Office, as they laid out a plan to build a bigger Mesonet system.

Mesonet is a series of weather instruments that take measurements in real time, as often as every five minutes, and record data for temperature, wind speed and direction, soil temperature and moisture, precipitation, snow depth, and even weather photos.

These stations are beneficial for everyone, according to Meteorologist Sam Lashley.

“I’ve worked with the National Weather Service for 30 years, and I’ve seen our weather models improve, I’ve seen our forecasts improve, but having more data, more high resolution data, going into those models, will help our forecasts, it will help our severe weather prediction, it will help us with flooding, getting flood warnings out, getting people to safety,” said Lashley.

Indiana only has 20-some Mesonet sites across its 92 counties. This meeting was about taking the first steps to fill in the map, because Indiana is lacking important weather data.

“So for an agricultural state, Indiana is really behind many other states in the Midwest, and across the Central Plains really,” Lashley said. “Other states realize the importance of this data for agriculture and for public safety. So, we’re getting there. We’re starting the process.”

Goals for the future include building at least one Mesonet station per county and creating a state advisory board to fund the projects and begin building weather stations.

Anyone interested in funding a station or hosting a site to build a station can reach out to the researchers in the State Climate Office.

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