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University of Utah (Jason Stiff, COMET graduate student fellow): "Development and application of a mesonet of observations over northwestern Utah"

Final Report

Mr. Stiff’s area of research was in the development and application of a mesonet of observations over northwestern Utah. Numerous data sources already exist in this area, however, the data were not available on a routine basis for NWS forecasters. The purpose of Mr. Stiff’s fellowship was to assemble the data from the wide variety of sources and to develop the tools required to make this information available routinely at the forecast office in a useful fashion. Reports collected by the National Weather Service, Dugway Army Proving Grounds, Colorado River Basin Forecast Center, U.S. Forest Service Avalanche Forecast Center, Utah Department of Environmental Quality, and Utah State Climatological Office were all made available via the Internet. Surface observations were updated as frequently as every 15 minutes, and graphic files were used to observe the current weather conditions around the region. The Utah mesonet observations have also been used for mesoscale model evaluations, and in the future will be used to help specify initial conditions for mesoscale models.

The Utah mesonet has been used to analyze winter storms that moved through Utah and the rest of the Intermountain Region during 1996. The mesonet, combined with model forecasts, radar and satellite imagery, as well as other observational and forecast products, allowed a thorough analysis of these storms.