Mobile Mesonet Build

Evan M Sheriff

Enthusiast
Nov 6, 2016
1
0
0
Wheaton IL
I am currently constructing a mobile mesonet to research a variety of weather phenomena, but the main purpose is to gather finescale surface observations of drylines. I am basing my design in large part from the information in (Straka et al. 1996). My instruments include:
-RM Young 05103v anemometer
-RM Young 41382 temperature/humidity sensor
-Vaisala PTB 110/CS106 barometric pressure sensor
-Flux Gate Compass M81190
-RM Young pressure port 61002

I do have some questions regarding the construction of the actual structure that would support the instruments. Since the 1990s the concept of mobile mesonet design has remained consistent, but most that are seen have variations in the execution. I was planning on building the structure quite similar to that in (Straka et al. 1996). Are there any issues with such a set up or things I should be aware of?

When it comes to shielding the temperature and humidity sensors, nearly every mobile mesonet has utilized the J (or sometimes called the S) tube design. However, I did read that in 2009 the NSSL began incorporating a U tube design, claiming it to provide better aspiration thus more accurate data. Should I stick to the J tube design or use the U tube? Also, how necessary is it to use a fan to further improve aspiration?

I will be including a GPS unit, but I do not know which unit would be best suited to a task such as this. Any recommendations would be appreciated. I am also unsure of which data logger I will use, again recommendations would be appreciated.

Is there anything else I should keep in mind, alter or be aware of? Any feedback is valued.
 

Jeff Duda

EF6+, PhD
Staff member
Supporter
Oct 7, 2008
3,544
2,619
21
Denver, CO
www.meteor.iastate.edu
Evan, I recommend looking into the folks attending the AMS's Severe Local Storms conference, currently ongoing in Portland. Unfortunately, the demographics of this forum have shifted strongly over the last few years such that the most experienced experts in vehicle-mounted scientific-grade research instrumentation have moved away and are no longer active, so you are unlikely to get a satisfactory response on this forum. If you need some guidance on who to ask, I can give you some names. Send me a private message to continue this discussion elsewhere.
 
Jan 5, 2008
94
10
6
DFW-Dallas/FortWorth
I also am curious about the Mobile mesonet vortex 2 project and the mobile mesonets on the vehicles. Many years ago a friend of mine named Eric Nguyen had his own Mesonet on his vehicle that we used when chasing. I do not know if he was logging data or not but if I do one I VERY VERY MUCH will Log the data for my own purposes and for other purposes. I am currenty trying to get ahold of Sean Waugh who was on vortex 2 which ran from 2009-2010 for questions reguarding the S-Shield or as he calls it the J-tube. I am wondering about the top portion of the J-tube underneath the cap for the vortex team from 2009-2010 project. I would like to know what parts were used and what are they called ?????????? and how did they get them to fit together and what did they have to do to get them to fit together ??????? I am of course asking about the parts or part that is between the CAP and the ElBOW at the TOP of the Unit on the S-Shield. I do not know what that part or parts is called and I have been looking at pictures trying to figure it out now for over 2 1/2 weeks and trying to get a hold of Sean also. I know that he must be very very busy this time of year but I would love to have this question answered as I am looking into researching these storms and doing more scientific stuff with the data and logging data via possible RM Young data logger later on at some point in the future !!!!!!. I also would love to go up to Norman maybe later in the summer or fall 2018 and see the Mesonets and ask a lot of questions and get to see them. If anyone runs into Sean or knows how to contact him I would certainly appreciate it if you could pass on that I would love to speak to him at his earliest convenience and when he has time to do so. I am trying to also do my homework on this subject and not just jump into something without learning about the subject in deep fashion first. I have always prided myself on the fact that I want to learn more of the deeper meteorology and be able to contribute back to society and this hobby and not be labeled with so many other chasers that are labeled as "LOOK AT ME LOOK WHAT I AM DOING I'M SPECIAL ". I take this hobby VERY VERY SERIOUSLY as any Great Chaser and Storm Tracker should and I have already learned a lot in the past 3 weeks but I would love to speak to Sean more and have more questions answered. I hope that I will get that chance and be able to learn more so if anyone sees him or talks to him please tell him that I would love to talk with him or if anyone knows the answer to this question of mine please feel free to tell me on here. Thank you for listening and I have some pictures of the mesonet below.















I just do not know what that is that is on the end of the elbow and what is between the elbow and that CAP ????????????????? and what are those spaces that are near the cap ?????? and what is that longggggg circle ???? is that attached to the elbow ??????? or is that part of the elbow ??????????? what are those things and how do they fit together and are they separate parts or a part or are they not and how does that help the S-Shield to work properly ????????????????.




this picture has got to be my allllllllllllllllllllll time FAVORITE PICTURE of a Mobile Mesonet vehicle !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. enjoy this picture !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! it is MY FAVORITE PIC





WOW !!!!!!!!!!!!!! NOW THAT IS AWESOME !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.



Shawn C.

"FOX 4-WARN SENIOR STORMTRACKER"


"FOX4NEWS.COM"


"WEATHER ONLY !!!!!!! ON FOX 4"
 
May 25, 2014
405
195
11
That assembly is standard pvc pipe that you can find at Home Depot. The upper cap appears to be a normal joint-venting cap found in vent installations for sewer and septic lines.

This type of build was fairly common years ago. If Dave Drummond is still around, I know he's built a few of these.

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk
 

GPhillips

EF4
Jul 8, 2004
328
65
11
Topeka KS
I also am curious about the Mobile mesonet vortex 2 project and the mobile mesonets on the vehicles. Many years ago a friend of mine named Eric Nguyen had his own Mesonet on his vehicle that we used when chasing. I do not know if he was logging data or not but if I do one I VERY VERY MUCH will Log the data for my own purposes and for other purposes.
Eric was indeed logging. The following article in the Electronic Journal of Severe Storms Meteorology was about a vehicle with instrumentation with Eric and Scott Blair being impacted by the Tulia TX tornado of 2007. http://www.ejssm.org/ojs/index.php/ejssm/article/view/39/42
 
May 25, 2014
405
195
11
Ah yes, Nguyen's direct encounter. Very solid journal entry, and good research value right there. Making a huge positive out of a negative.

He'd have been 40 this year. Damn shame.
 
Jan 5, 2008
94
10
6
DFW-Dallas/FortWorth
OK so what is that behind the cap that Rounnnnnd thing that round part what is that ??????? and I haven't seen a cap like that at home depot so what kind of cap is that and where do you get it at ???????? these are just some of the questions that I would love to have answered by you guys or by Sean. I'm currently trying to arrange a trip up there in OCT to see the mesonets but I'm still trying to get in contact with Sean and not being very successful at that but I keep trying. If you guys know what these parts are above I would sure like to know ????.

Shawn C.

"FOX 4-WARN SEINOR STORMTRACKER"

"FOX4NEWS.COM"


"WEATHER ONLY !!!! ON FOX 4" THE NEWS STATION
 
May 25, 2014
405
195
11
It's a PVC vented cap. Also called a mushroom cap or a vented cap. It's not a separate piece, it's a part of the cap design. They even make anti-vortex models now.
 

Quinton Kirsch

Enthusiast
Dec 26, 2018
9
5
1
20
St. Louis, Missouri
I know it's been four years since anyone's responded here but I figured I'd give my two cents. If nothing else someone looking for information will find this and hopefully get something out of it.

I am currently constructing a mobile mesonet to research a variety of weather phenomena, but the main purpose is to gather finescale surface observations of drylines. I am basing my design in large part from the information in (Straka et al. 1996). My instruments include:
-RM Young 05103v anemometer
-RM Young 41382 temperature/humidity sensor
-Vaisala PTB 110/CS106 barometric pressure sensor
-Flux Gate Compass M81190
-RM Young pressure port 61002

I do have some questions regarding the construction of the actual structure that would support the instruments. Since the 1990s the concept of mobile mesonet design has remained consistent, but most that are seen have variations in the execution. I was planning on building the structure quite similar to that in (Straka et al. 1996). Are there any issues with such a set up or things I should be aware of?

When it comes to shielding the temperature and humidity sensors, nearly every mobile mesonet has utilized the J (or sometimes called the S) tube design. However, I did read that in 2009 the NSSL began incorporating a U tube design, claiming it to provide better aspiration thus more accurate data. Should I stick to the J tube design or use the U tube? Also, how necessary is it to use a fan to further improve aspiration?

I will be including a GPS unit, but I do not know which unit would be best suited to a task such as this. Any recommendations would be appreciated. I am also unsure of which data logger I will use, again recommendations would be appreciated.

Is there anything else I should keep in mind, alter or be aware of? Any feedback is valued.
Evan: I'm not sure if you finished the rack or are still working on it after all this time but I wish you the best of luck. Something you might need to consider with the older design is the lack of futureproofing. The rack style by todays standards is somewhat outdated and unable to accommodate newer sensors and housings. One of the most notable changes of today is the addition of the U-Tube. This requires a different mounting style than the rack discussed in the publication mentioned prior. That being said, basing your design off of the newer edition of NSSL racks would be more than capable to house any suite of sensors. The older design might not hold up well to the newer suggested siting of pressure ports either as their placement is thought to be best situated farther up front that the original style.

The implementation of the U-Tube was important as it pretty much blew the efficacy of the J-Tube out of the water. Solving all of the problems previously experienced while also maintaining robust construction and better aspiration. I'll talk more about why below. Having a fan is important and ultimately unavoidable because you will not always experience a breeze or driving to move the air through the housing. I'll link the PDF to Waugh's publication below where you can read through for yourself or anyone interested. There are many other things to be discussed but that could probably be made into another thread.

From personal experience and looking around at what others are doing, Garmin makes the GPS-16X-HVS sold by Campbell Scientific. This receiver directly interfaces with CS data loggers and records the slew of GPS data available. The Campbell Scientific CR6 is the logger of choice for the project I am apart of and what the NSSL uses. The only caveat to this is when you are stationary GPS heading gets buggy, hence the supplemental use of a fluxgate compass. The inputs on the logger are all digitally modular so you can configure them to virtually anything of your liking. There's also a cellular and wifi variant as well if you do not want to hard-wire a connection to collect data or monitor in real time. CS also makes a ready to go software suite called LOGGERNET that does things I am still finding out and works flawlessly with their data loggers.

Shawn: The J-Tube was the original mobile vehicle application fan aspirated radiation shield. The namesake came from it's creator Jerry Straka working with the original VORTEX project. As you might've assumed already, "J" from the name came from Jerry and it stuck. It was supposed to utilize the slipstream effect of the vehicle and create an aspiration effect as air was sucked from the top to bottom of the tube due to the pressure gradient. It was made of standard schedule 40 3" pvc and worked decently in low sun environments. Though through further investigation and efforts made by Sean Waugh he determined the J-Tube was actually quite inaccurate and lead a host of problems while taking observations in the real world. The cap at the front becoming a large thermal mass, etc. etc. The cap part at the front of the tube, as Dean stated prior, is a vent cap. I did some searching around and as of right now they no longer make the type NSSL supposedly used in the images you posted above. Another possibility is they made a custom cap that you cannot commercially buy. This wouldn't be surprising as most of what they put out in the field is in house fabricated.

The U-Tube is now the preferred apparatus to housing T/RH sensors as of about a decade ago. Again, like I stated above, a link to Sean's document can be found here.

And back to Evan: Things you should be aware of. A big one is maintenance and cost of calibration. These are two big ones if you want to maintain reputable data collection and operation. MPG is a big one as well. For a brief period I had a rack atop my vehicle for testing purposes. Needless to say my fuel efficiency went to garbage. Just something else to expect. They are a lot of work, albeit worth it in the end, but still a lot of work and much research sunk into them. The anemometer will break in hail inevitably as well as any non-robust plastic parts. Keeping spare replacements of the parts you know are susceptible will save you downtime and headache. Avoiding hail all together is also a known and effective strategy. I could go on for hours about the endless things required so I'll end it here.

I'll probably make a separate thread for anyone who wants to go into mobile observations simply because there is a lot to cover. I'm probably forgetting things in this one but I'll more than likely get to them in a separate post.

Anyways I hope this post finds someone that needs the info.

Cheers
 

J Ploeg

Enthusiast
Jul 30, 2021
2
0
1
40
Waupaca Wisconsin
Who would receive the data that was logged? If your not a part of a project what would the data be used for or who would want it?
I came across the post because I am looking for ideas as to what to get for an anemometer. Much Much more expensive than I thought they would be. I love this hobby and want to contribute more but I have to feed my kids too lol.