Improving Weather Data Services Nationwide

The National Mesonet Program (NMP) affordably leverages innovation and investment by American entrepreneurs, state governments, and universities to dramatically strengthen the key government service of national weather monitoring and reporting.

Saving Federal Funds

The National Mesonet Program significantly lowers the overall per-station cost in comparison with a government station-only strategy, enabling much denser networks of weather observations at a cost-effective price. The program allows the federal government to efficiently leverage existing, non-federal weather monitoring assets instead of building, owning, operating, and maintaining stations at much higher cost.

Protecting Lives and Property

The National Mesonet helps the NWS provide substantially improved weather forecasts and warnings that result in reduced casualties from storms and other hazards, both natural and human-made. Forecasters rely on local and regional mesonets for critical information that enhances situational awareness during severe weather events and fills large data voids in the airport-centric federal weather observing system. During Hurricane Sandy, real-time data from the National Mesonet, including over 100 stations from WeatherFlow, Rutgers University, and other networks, were instrumental to NOAA forecasters who had to communicate with national and local emergency managers.

Renewable Energy and Transportation

Besides improving conventional weather forecasting, the National Mesonet has also emerged as a key tool to aid the development of the domestic renewable energy industry and improve the efficiency of the nation’s transportation network. Significant improvement in short-term wind forecasts with higher resolution make integration of renewable wind energy into the power grid practical — wind farms that lack such data can miss out on billions of dollars in unrealized operating efficiencies. In aviation, some two-thirds of the annual impact of severe weather delays ($19 billion) could be mitigated with better weather information. On the ground, National Mesonet road weather and vehicle-mounted mobile weather sensors also provide extremely high resolution observations in real time, improving safety on our nation’s increasingly crowded highways.