Kansas Mesonet in Agronomy Department: Near real-time weather data for Kansas

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The Kansas Mesonet (mesonet.ksu.edu), available on Agronomy’s Weather Data Library (WDL) web site, is a network of automated weather stations. The Kansas Mesonet consists of 47 active stations across the Kansas (Figure 1). At each station, the weather variables are monitored by a set of instruments mostly mounted on either a 10-meter-tall tower or a 3-meter-tall tower, or sometimes both (Figure 2). Some soil sensors and rain gauges are located near the tower. The Kansas Mesonet provides nearly real-time (5 minute refresh rate), high-quality, and reliable agriculture-related weather observations in Kansas.

Figure 1. Current Kansas Mesonet website at mesonet.ksu.edu


Figure 2. A typical Kansas Mesonet station located near Colby. Both 10-meter-tower and 3-meter-tower are included at this site. Photo by K-State Research and Extension. 


Every station reports a set of observations including air temperature, air relative humidity, precipitation, wind speed and wind direction, solar radiation, barometric pressure, and soil moisture contents and soil temperatures (Fig. 3). All these observation data can be obtained through our website shown in Fig. 1.

Three types of online data are available: historical weather data, weekly summary data, and yesterday’s weather data. When the specific site and time period are provided, these data can be readily downloaded through the website. For the longer observations (e.g., more than 1 year) for specific sites, the Kansas Mesonet staff can provide that information to the user individually based upon the request. The contact email is kansas-wdl@ksu.edu.

Fig. 3. Detailed weather variables monitored at each station. The * indicates that this variable might not be included at a specific site. 


In addition, the WDL provides climate information dating back to the 1850’s, which primarily includes daily maximum and minimum temperatures, precipitation, and snowfall depth across Kansas.

We also participate the Community, Collaborative, Rain, Hail and Snow Network, and maintain the Kansas data for this network. This is a network of community members who have their own gauges and report their observations online. This becomes particularly helpful in the winter with snowfall measurements.

Those in the department working on the Mesonet project include Dr. Xiaomao Lin, state climatologist; Mary Knapp, state assistant climatologist; Chip Redmond, WDL manager; Brian Petersen, WDL web programmer; and Fred Caldwell, weather monitoring equipment specialist.

Xiaomao Lin, State Climatologist