What are Mesonet Stations?
The mesonet, in meteorological terms, is a regional network of automatic weather observing stations designed to diagnose weather features. These weather observation stations differ slightly from the home weather stations we often talk about or review on this site. Among other differences, these mesonet stations often also do some environmental monitoring, measuring things such as solar irradiance. The term mesonet refers to the network of weather stations. There are different networks with discerning features like station density and overall size. In general terms, we’ll discuss the NWS mesonet (National Weather Service), however there are micronets (smaller mesonets) in communities all around the world. Mesonet.org is a good example of such a network operated in the state of Oklahoma.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s NWS mesonet has fixed and mobile weather observing stations approximately every 5km spatially and every 15 minutes temporally. The environmental and weather data gathered from these mesonet stations assists NOAA in their mission to understand and predict changes in climate, weather, oceans, and coasts. More specifically put, the NWS mesonet sites help improve forecasting and the NWS warning system.
For the most part, existing non-federal automated weather stations are leveraged into mesonet stations to further NOAA’s Weather-Ready Nation initiative. Data measured by these stations, or mesonet observations, typically include things like temperature, humidity, pressure, wind, precipitation. This image is of mesonet station WSHT near Maysville in Mason County, Kentucky.
Mesonet Station Locations
You can visit NOAA’s website to find the location and current weather readings of all of the NWS mesonet stations in North America, as well as many off both the East and West coasts. The image featured at the top of the page was pulled from this site. By zooming in on the map to a specific area, you can find all local mesonet stations. You’ll see that they are everywhere. I encourage you to visit the map and take a look. You’ve likely driven by these automated mesonet stations several times and not even given them a second thought.