Meteorological Instrumentation & Mesonet Operations

Expertise in Meteorological Instrumentation

FRD has a long history of experience with meteorological instrumentation. From the standard 3-cup anemometer to the sophisticated 3-dimensional sonic anemometer, FRD knows them all. When conducting a major field atmospheric tracer study, it's important to have the necessary instruments deployed to adequately and accurately describe the meteorological conditions in which the study was conducted. The following is a sample listing of instruments we've used and have available for deployment:

Wind Sensors:

  • Cup anemometers and wind vanes;
  • Hot-film anemometers;
  • Prop-vane anemometers;
  • Laser anemometers;
  • Sonic anemometers.

    Temperature Sensors:

  • Thermocouples;
  • Thermistors;
  • Platinum resistance thermometers;
  • Heat flux plates.

    Humidity Sensors:

  • Dew probes;
  • Chilled mirrors;
  • Self-checking and mini-psychrometers;
  • Open path fast response H2O gas analyzers.

    Solar and Terrestrial Radiation Sensors:

  • Pyranometers;
  • Net radiometers;
  • Quantum radiometers;
  • Multi-channel scanning radiometers.

    Specialized Instrumentation:

  • Bowen Ratio energy balance systems;
  • Eddy Correlation H2O & CO2 flux systems;
  • ET Probes;
  • Tetroons and smart balloons;
  • Tall towers and deployment platforms.

    Meteorological tower on the summit of Big Southern Butte.

    Mesonet Operations

    FRD is not only expert at installing instrumentation, but also in establishing networks of metetorological monitoring towers and associated sensors (mesonet). In a mesonet, the instrumentation must be carefully selected to permit a coordinated remote collection of data from the various sensors. The data are collected into a central repository through phone lines, radio frequency telemetry, or various other means and displayed in real-time for emergency responders or experiment directors.

    Over the years, we've installed and operated numerous mesonets in support of various tracer and other meteorological studies. Perhaps one of the most extensive mesonets we installed was the 43-station mesonet for the San Joaquin Valley Air Quality Study. Smaller mesonets were installed for the Utah County Carbon Monoxide Study and the Central California Ozone Study.

    FRD has continuously observed and recorded meteorological conditions at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) and its environs since it first opened its doors in 1948. That's more than 55 years of experience with mesonets. We now manage the 33-station, technologically advanced, INL Meteorological Monitoring Network (Mesonet). The network includes advanced hardware and software, meteorological towers, radio telemetry, a 915-MHz radar wind profiler and radio acoustic sounding system (RASS), and an H2O & CO2 eddy correlation flux system. The network provides the high quality data and information necessary to meet a wide range of research and regulatory requirements. More information on the INL Mesonet can be found here.


    15 m meteorological tower on the Idaho Falls greenbelt, part of the INL Mesonet.

    INL Mesonet tower locations (33).

    Modified: March 1, 2011
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