Forecasting Extreme Events: UAlbany Faculty Experts Discuss New York's Early Warning Mesoscale Weather Network

ALBANY, N.Y. (January 26, 2015) -- As New York and much of the northeastern United States prepares for an extreme winter storm that's expected to cripple transportation and commerce, faculty experts at the University at Albany can provide insight on the technology behind the state-of-the-art early warning detection network, the NYS Mesonet, and how it can further support forecasting and first responder efforts.

New York State Mesonet
NYS Mesonet will keep emergency managers better informed, better prepared and better equipped to make decisions during extreme weather events such has Hurricane Irene in 2011.

The $23.6 million initiative is designed to support better planning for extreme and dangerous weather events, adds 125 interconnected surface weather stations throughout the state to detect weather patterns and phenomena, with as many as 17 super sites equipped with profiler technology to gather above-ground meteorological observations to support more accurate forecasting. Once implemented, the NYS Mesonet will keep emergency managers better informed, better prepared and better equipped to make decisions and deploy resources to protect life and property during extreme weather events.

UAlbany's Mesonet experts include:

Project Co-Investigators:

  • Everette Joseph, director of UAlbany’s Atmospheric Sciences Research Center (ASRC), an internationally recognized leader in the field of atmospheric sciences. Joseph played a significant role in the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) Aerosol and Ocean Science Expeditions. He has conducted extensive research observing the role of aerosols and certain gases on climate and weather from field observations in the Mid-Atlantic to marine expeditions across the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Professor and Chair of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences Chris Thorncroft, who studies tropical weather and climate. He specializes in the nature and variability of the West African monsoon, including the causes of droughts as well as how West African weather and climate impact hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean. Thorncroft currently serves as chair for the Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences and is an expert on hurricanes.

Program Manager:

  • NYS Mesonet Program Manager Jerald Brotzge, focuses on radar and storm-scale meteorology. Brotzge, who previously served as managing director and senior scientist at the Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms at the University of Oklahoma, provides insight on the hardware and software behind the NYS Mesonet. Brotzge can explain how Mesonet provides the high resolution data needed to support monitoring and predictive modeling of mesocale weather events (intermediate size meteorological phenomenon, usually less than 625 miles in horizontal range) and emerging weather-related risks, including rainfall and floods, heavy snow and ice, and high winds.

The 125 stations of the University at Albany's NYS Mesonet system will be located less than 25 miles from each other, many on SUNY campuses throughout the state, reporting and capturing high resolution real-time and spatial data every 15 minutes.

UAlbany's Visualization and Informatics Lab assisted by providing tools used in the design of the network.

Learn more about the NYS Mesonet.

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany-SUNY offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciencesbusiness, public health, health sciences, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.