The need for a surface based, dense meteorological observation network in Florida has long been recognized. In 2002, scientists across the state of Florida joined together with the National Science Foundation, the REALM Project, the Florida State University, and other agencies to create the Miami-Dade Mesonet.
This research is a study of the instruments used in the Miami-Dade Mesonet (the Davis Vantage Pro Weather Instruments) and of the data collected by the mesonet. The goal is to prove that though the Davis Weather Instruments are inexpensive, and the placement of the instruments in the mesonet do not meet all the operational standards and procedures for surface observing, that the mesonet can still produce accurate and practical observations. This research will present an overall assessment of the accuracy and quality of the data collected.
First, an internal examination of three Davis weather instruments was conducted on the roof of the James J. Love Math-Meteorology building on the FSU campus, in order to evaluate the integrity of the equipment in a controlled setting with varying parameters. Next, quality assurance procedures were run on the actual data from the Miami-Dade Mesonet to determine how well the mesonet compares with Automatic Surface Observing Systems (ASOS). Then, four case studies were conducted to examine the ability of the instruments to detect specific types of weather events, including a tornado outbreak, a record high temperature in mid-winter, a heavy rainfall event, and a sea breeze passage case. Each study evaluated a different aspect of the mesonet stations, leading to positive results proving that the systems provide operationally significant observations.
The REALM Project was extended in the summer of 2005 through the Florida Panhandle and parts of central Florida, which will greatly increase observational coverage in data sparse regions in rural areas, especially in northwest Florida.