KY Climate Center Participates in Midwest Mesonet Workshop
|Date: Tuesday, November 17th, 2015||Return|
Climate can be thought of as a natural resource that shapes society, including the economy and the lifestyles that people enjoy. Meanwhile, natural hazards, ranging from floods and droughts to winter storms and severe thunderstorms, are also inherent elements of climate. Therein, the collection and public availability of reliable weather and climate data is a public service that people have come to expect.
State climatologist Stuart Foster, who serves as director of the Kentucky Climate Center, associate director Rezaul Mahmood, and Kentucky Mesonet operations manager Megan Schargorodski participated in the Midwest Mesonet Workshop held in Champaign, Illinois, on Sept. 28-29.
Mesonets are networks of automated weather and climate monitoring stations, typically operated at a state or sub-state level, that provide near real-time weather data to local communities. These data can be used to promote public safety and economic development, while also supporting education and research initiatives. Mesonets are often affiliated with universities or state governmental agencies and are dedicated to collecting research-grade data.
The workshop brought together mesonet operators from throughout the region, along with a diverse array of public and private sector stakeholders who utilize weather and climate data.
“The collection and provision of weather data is often viewed as a public service that should be freely available to anyone. We know that weather and climate data collected by mesonets are used to enhance public safety and aid weather-sensitive businesses, yet mesonet operators are commonly challenged to secure funding necessary to meet annual budgets for operations and maintenance,” said Dr. Foster, director of the Kentucky Mesonet.
“Typical of the formative stage in the growth of a new industry, mesonets have typically evolved independently, developing or adopting different system designs and operating procedures,” Dr. Foster said. “This workshop enabled mesonet operators to share experiences and identify common challenges and opportunities.”
Working with the Midwestern Regional Climate Center at the University of Illinois, mesonet operators committed at the workshop to developing a multi-faceted forum for ongoing communication that will promote the development and adoption of standards and procedures that can by mesonets throughout the region.
“My hope is that through these efforts, mesonet operators will be able to realize greater efficiencies and leverage opportunities to create greater value at both the state and regional scale throughout the Midwest,” Dr. Foster said.
History will be made on Nov. 29 when WKU will get its first chapter of SALUTE, a national honor society for student veterans. Seven charter members will be inducted into SALUTE at 5 p.m. in the Veterans Resource Center, 410 Tate Page Hall.
Three alumni from WKU’s Department of Geography and Geology who work for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) have been assigned to Puerto Rico to assist in post-hurricane recovery efforts.
On National Philanthropy Day, WKU’s Division of Development & Alumni Relations was rebranded as Philanthropy & Alumni Engagement; Laura Turner Dugas was named the 2017 Philanthropist of the Year; and a gift for diversity initiatives was announced.
WKU’s Forensics Team divided into three groups and traveled to Lebanon, Illinois; Normal, Illinois; and Jefferson City, Tennessee, to compete in six tournaments Nov. 11-12.
Students, faculty, and staff from the Center for Human GeoEnvironmental Studies (CHNGES) and Department of Geography & Geology recently attended national conferences in Arkansas and Washington state.
A bronze statue of longtime WKU supporter and Kentucky State Rep. Jody Richards of Bowling Green was unveiled on WKU’s main campus Monday (Nov. 6) in Jody Richards Hall.
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