Assessment of Remote Automated Weather Station (RAWS) Observations and Estimating the Optimal Distribution of RAWS Stations to Include Development of 7-Day RAWS-MOS

Affiliation(s)PIProject periodFunded by
DAS Brown, Timothy J 08/17/2009 - 12/31/2010 DOI - National Park Service

Project Description

The first major objective of this study is to develop and provide objective metrics that quantitatively estimate the impact of RAWS observations on analyses of wind, temperature and relative humidity. These three variables are critical for both fire danger and fire behavior, and thus cover significant aspects of fire business. Further, we will obtain feedback from field personnel, such as fire behavior analysts and Predictive Services meteorologists, to determine if there are some critical weather thresholds that should be considered in the analysis. The second major objective of this study is to assess the present distribution of RAWS stations from the standpoint of redundancies and gaps in the existing network. Estimates will be made as to the impact of reducing the number of stations as well as the impact of increasing the number of stations. The geographic scope of this effort will be the contiguous United States and Alaska. A third major objective is to determine how other network (e.g., ASOS) data distribution compares to RAWS. Airport weather stations have been used as proxy RAWS, especially in the eastern U.S. even though these stations do not exactly meet NWCG weather station standards. These data do seem to work well for the intended agency purpose, but no formal quantitative assessment has been undertaken. An interest in doing this particular analysis is to demonstrate whether or not other networks should be formally considered for fire business analyses.