Portable Automated Mesonet II

Fred V. Brock National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO 80307

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George H. Saum National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO 80307

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Steven R. Semmer National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO 80307

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Abstract

The Portable Automated Mesonet II (PAM II) system was developed by NCAR to provide surface mesoscale data for the research needs of the atmospheric science community. The PAM system has 60 remote stations with planned growth to 300. In such a distributed system, data communication is a vital subsystem and, since it dictates some key system constraints, deserves special attention. The NOAA/NESDIS satellite, GOES, is used to link the remote stations to the base stations. This provides very wide areas coverage but limits the data rate.

Special attention was given to the design of the sensor subsystems to minimize the possibility for human error and to maintain the calibration in field conditions while using interchangeable modules. This was achieved by using a dedicated microprocessor in the psychrometer and the barometer. The microprocessor in the sensor modules controls the sensors, applies the individual calibration coefficients, and transmits the sensor data to the master data acquisition module.

The master base station collects the data, archives them and generates graphic displays of real-time or archived data for system control and scientific analysis. The field base stations provide real-time data for the user in the field environment.

Abstract

The Portable Automated Mesonet II (PAM II) system was developed by NCAR to provide surface mesoscale data for the research needs of the atmospheric science community. The PAM system has 60 remote stations with planned growth to 300. In such a distributed system, data communication is a vital subsystem and, since it dictates some key system constraints, deserves special attention. The NOAA/NESDIS satellite, GOES, is used to link the remote stations to the base stations. This provides very wide areas coverage but limits the data rate.

Special attention was given to the design of the sensor subsystems to minimize the possibility for human error and to maintain the calibration in field conditions while using interchangeable modules. This was achieved by using a dedicated microprocessor in the psychrometer and the barometer. The microprocessor in the sensor modules controls the sensors, applies the individual calibration coefficients, and transmits the sensor data to the master data acquisition module.

The master base station collects the data, archives them and generates graphic displays of real-time or archived data for system control and scientific analysis. The field base stations provide real-time data for the user in the field environment.

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