Development of the West Texas mesonet and supporting instrumentation
Weinbeck, Stephen W.
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In the last several years, the Wind Science and Engineering Center (WISE) at Texas Tech University has acquired a collection of new atmospheric sensing platforms. The most important of these is the West Texas Mesonet, an array of 40 automated surface observation systems. The purpose of the Mesonet is the acquisition of high spatial and temporal measurements of the atmosphere in West Texas. This provides an order of magnitude increase in the spatial resolution of atmospheric phenomena. The primary focus of WISE research is to understand the surface layer effects of high wind events. The addition of the mesonet allows for substantially better understanding of the resolution of the environment in which these damaging windstorms form and propagate. Despite the improvement of the resolution of the atmosphere, many important physical processes in the storm environment cannot be resolved directly through mesonet observations. In order to provide the high spatial resolution that is necessary, additional observations need to be utilized in conjunction with the Mesonet. Short portable towers and mobile mesonet vehicles allow researchers to capture very high spatial and temporal scales in the atmosphere. To supplement the additional data density at the surface , there is a new WISE boundary layer tower at the Reese technology center; co-located there are a boundary layer wind profiler and Doppler Sodar, as well as the nearby KLBB Doppler radar operated by the National Weather Service is located nearby. Together, these sensing platforms provide observational data of dramatically improved resolution for the Researchers at WISE as well as others. In order to highlight the advantages at the greater density, observations of the damaging wind events of 11 June 2000 and 30 May 2001 will be presented.