About the Regional Mesonet Program (RMP)
The Regional Mesonets And Partners Project (RMP) is a collaboration of multiple states and mesonet groups. It offers the opportunity to see the regional value of mesonet data when various networks are brought together.
The MRCC is proud to host operational product maps from various mesonet groups around its region, which are updated daily. Mesonets are a collection of observation stations that gather information about the environment such as atmospheric, soil, and moisture conditions (see the Summary Table of Midwest Mesonets on the Data Networks page). Mesonets are often developed to serve a particular audience such as a state’s agricultural community, but the data collected can often be valuable to other groups outside of their target audience.
The funding support for each mesonet varies and can be vulnerable at times. However, the data that are gathered from these networks are incredibly valuable to researchers, planners, and the community. The high temporal and spatial consistency of these data records can provide a more detailed, and possibly truthful, account of what has occurred which increases the mesonet’s reliability and value.
About the Maps
Interpolation Method - the interpolation method used to create the data layer shown on the maps is Inverse Distance Weighted. Parameters include a power of 2.0, and a 6-point variable search radius.
Mask Method or "Why are there white areas on the RMP maps labeled in the legend as ‘Insufficient Data’?" - In some areas of the country, the availability of data from observation sites is sparse. While it is possible to create a whole surface by interpolating the data available, in the case of variables such as soil temperature and potential evapotranspiration, showing derived data at large distances from observation points is misleading. To avoid this, the interpolated data layer is only shown if an observation site is located within a distance of 150 kilometers.
Begun in 2013, the RMP piloted this mosaic-style concept with soil temperature data from around the region. Soil temperature is not a common parameter measured at most national data collection networks, so this provided a suite of products that were unique, and available only when data from multiple mesonets are combined. Soil temperature observations, however, are gathered at varying depths and beneath different types of surface cover, depending upon the needs and interests of the mesonet. The most common soil temperature depth is 4”, but some stations and networks also measure at 2” depth. The two conventional surface cover types are either sod or bare soil. Not every mesonet (or station within a mesonet) collect both of these depths and cover types. Therefore, additional data from other networks (e.g., Climate Reference Network) are added to improve spatial coherency where there are gaps between mesonets.
In 2014, the RMP decided to add another product to its suite of daily operational regional maps: Potential Evapotranspiration (PET). Using the Penman-Monteith algorithms to calculate PET, parameters gathered at many mesonet sites such as incoming solar radiation, winds, humidity, and temperature can help provide an indicator for how much moisture could evaporate under ideal conditions. Additional networks are also used to fill in data gaps between mesonets here as well.