The newest station will continue to enhance measurement capabilities for the area.
Texas Tech University's National Wind Institute (NWI) revealed its 120th West Texas Mesonet station today (Dec. 18) during a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The station is located in the Caprock Canyons State Park & Trailway, three miles east of South Plains, a small town in Floyd County, about 70 miles northeast of Lubbock.
The West Texas Mesonet provides real-time data, including wind speed and direction at different levels, air temperatures at different levels, humidity and dew point, solar radiation, rainfall, barometric pressure and climate histories. Agricultural data includes soil temperature and moisture at different levels, leaf wetness and evapotranspiration.
Sonic Detection and Ranging (SODAR) units also have been integrated with the West Texas Mesonet to provide elevated measurements for high-resolution, short-term ensemble wind forecasts. SODAR is an acoustic radar used to evaluate low-level atmospheric stability and wind characteristics.
"The expansion of the West Texas Mesonet to reach 120 stations is yet another indication of Texas Tech University's expanding influence in West Texas," said John Schroeder, a professor of atmospheric science in the Department of Geosciences and an NWI affiliate. "The expansion yields more measurement coverage across the region, while the ongoing efforts to develop informative products based on the measurements, including the latest iPhone app, is part of a focused effort to best serve the citizens of West Texas. Whether it be weather, energy, water, agriculture or transportation concerns, the information from the West Texas Mesonet has been serving the region for almost 20 years."
The West Texas Mesonet iPhone app also recently received a 2018 Excellence in IT Innovation award through Texas Tech's Office of the Chief Information Officer/Information Technology Division, and a newer, more enhanced version of the app is currently being developed.
The newest station is a partnership with Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, Caprock Canyons State Park & Trailway and the National Weather Service in Lubbock. Representatives from the National Weather Service and Texas Parks & Wildlife were in attendance for the ribbon cutting.
"The West Texas Mesonet, the NWI and Texas Tech University are proud to celebrate the 120th Mesonet station," said Anna Thomas, interim senior director of the NWI. "The West Texas Mesonet provides high-quality meteorological and agricultural information to a region with otherwise sparse data sources. The National Weather Service relays the West Texas Mesonet data to the media and surrounding communities through warnings, forecasts, local storm statements, weather radio and other reports.
"I also would like to give special recognition to the NWI West Texas Mesonet team: Wes Burgett, John Geesling, Yin Lu, Lee Wilks, John Schroeder and Brian Hirth on another major accomplishment."