NCAR Mesa Lab Weather Station Information

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Station Location

The NCAR Mesa Lab weather station is located on a 1.8 meter (6 foot) pole which is on the roof of the North tower of the laboratory. Weather is a very local phenomenon and the station is in its own micro-climate.
Station Geographical Information
Latitude   39 degrees 58 minutes 41 seconds
Longitude 105 degrees 16 minutes 32 seconds
Elevation 6185 Feet, 1885 Meters

Weather Station Hardware

A Coastal Climate Weatherpak 2000 weather station is being used to collect all of the meteorological information. The Weatherpak 2000 is a self contained device which provides an RS-232 data stream containing temperature, humidity, pressure, rain accumulation, wind speed, direction and peak gust speed.

Here are the sensor specifications .

Data Transmission Hardware

The RS-232 data from the weather station is run into a room in the tower of the Mesa lab where it goes through a 1 meter fiber optic lightning isolation link. The data is converted from the fiber back to RS-232 where it connects into a to a Sun Microsystems SparcStation SLC computer. The data transmission and isolation hardware was designed and built at NCAR.

Data Ingest Software

The weather station's data stream is collected by a C program called weatherd (the weather daemon), stored in netCDF format files, then plotted using gnuplot which is run from a Perl script called cdf2gplot. Honorable mention should be given to the Zebra program, a very powerful multi-platform data ingest and display system which was used to get the original system up and running.

Data Filters

Wind Direction

The wind direction signal is not valid for zero wind speed and the data is removed from the plots in that situation to reduce the number of spikes.

Peak Gust

Here is a description of the Peak Gust calculation performed inside of the Coastal weather station.

Wind Direction

The wind direction signal is not valid for zero wind speed and the data is removed from the plots in that situation to eliminate the resulting clutter from the wind direction plots.

Rain Accumulation

The rain accumulation data is a plot of "rain events" which are periods where the rain is actually falling. After an hour of no rainfall, the chart resets to zero. The total rainfall over a period of time is a sum of the individual rain events. The textual rain accumulation info at the top of the page represents total rainfall since midnight.

Derived Fields


If the air were cooled down, the dewpoint would be the temperature where the moisture in the air would condense and form dew.
Here is formula for the derivation of dewpoint.

Aeronautical Pressure Correction

Pressure varies with altitude, as you move towards outer space, the pressure moves towards zero. Aeronautical pressure correction is used to remove the altitude information from pressure readings so that comparisons can be made between weather stations at different heights.
Here is formula for the derivation of corrected pressure.

Wind Chill

An NCAR meteorologist, Bob Rilling has put together this information on Wind Chill. We are currently using the Court method for calculating wind chill. Note that the wind chill is undefined for wind speeds below 1.9 meters per second and for temperatures above 33 degrees C.

Data Availability

The NCAR weather station data is now available at our FTP archive We cannot offer any support for use of the data, please see the README file for details and caveats.

Reloading of Plots

If you bring this page up multiple times using the Mosaic www browser, you will probably have to select Reload Images from the File menu to get updated plots. If you are using Netscape, try using the "reload" button or "shift-reload" to get the latest images. Netscape has a reload bug that is related to daylight savings time, if you still can't reload, try going into the "Options" pulldown under "Network Preferences" and push "Clear Disk Cache Now", then press "reload.
A service of the NCAR Earth Observing Laboratory, brought to you by Forrest Cook, Gary Granger, Chris Burghart, Bob Rilling with help from Jon Corbet, John Militzer, Steve Oncley, and many others from EOL. The color photography is by Forrest Cook.