[music] [music] One of the advantages of living in the
state of Oklahoma is that we have a world-class network for monitoring the weather. This is the
Oklahoma Mesonet. This is an Oklahoma Mesonet site. They’re actually 120 Mesonet sites
across the different 77 counties in Oklahoma. And the Mesonet like I
said is a world-class network. It can give you real-time information about temperature, precipitation, incoming solar
radiation and wind speed. And what we can do with those variables
is we can combine those two help farmers and ranchers to help make
management decisions. For example, one of the things that the Mesonet has developed
is a farm monitor tool that you can get on the web site www.mesonet.org. And the farm monitor tool will give you critical indicators such as a cattle
comfort indicator. It also tells you about evapotranspiration. Evapotranspiration is the combined
amount of water that leaves the soil through evaporation also the
transpiration from the plants. It really talks about how much water
is actually being used by the plant, and therefore may be how much water you need to add is an irrigator. It also has tools that talk about the
drought index. So you can use that information to
make management decisions, such as decisions related to
cropping practices or decisions relative to livestock and
forage growth. [music] Hi. I’m Al Sutherland and I work through
Biosystems and Ag Engineering here at OSU with the Water Center and part of the Oklahoma Mesonet, our weather
monitoring network that we have across the state. And we’re gonna take a look at some of
those things that we use to monitor rainfall, groundwater, and soil moisture on the
Mesonet. The first thing that I wanted to show you was the rainfall. If we go into that
section, we have a choice have looking at either some long-term rainfall or some short term. Long-term I really like the monthly rainfall
tables. Those show the monthly amounts of rainfall going back to January 1st nineteen ninety-four or to when the station was first established. We can add in estimated values within that table and that really helps
fill things out. Those estimated values are our best
estimate of the rainfall that fell. The other thing that we have in that
rainfall section are maps that show how much rain has
fallen going back a full 365 days or we can bring those up a shorter time
period as one hour. What’s nice about those maps,
if we go in and take a look at one of them– and here we’re looking at the 60-day
rainfall map, is that they use radar estimates of rainfall from the National
Weather Service River Forecast Center. They take our rain gauge data from
the Mesonet and use that to ground-truth the radar.
That gives us a very good estimate what fell between
the different Mesonet towers and is much better than the old days
when we had just an average. That’s the supply side if we’re
looking at how much rain fell. The other thing
that we have available on the Mesonet is soil moisture. This is the amount
of water that’s actually moved into the soil.
We have a number different ways of looking at. One of those is the plant available water. We can look at the surface to four inches, the surface to 16 inches, or the surface
down to 32 inches. This is actually measuring the water
available for plants to take up to grow from, in that column. Typically, we often look at this
surface to 16 inches. The plant available water gives us the
amount of that water in inches that’s available. We can also look at that as a percent. We can see when the soil can’t take up any more water when it
gets up close to that 100 percent, versus those soils that are very very
low. And in right now, out at Altus, there at twenty percent. If
we go way out west, Boise City, they’re only twelve percent which means that they could add back in eighty-eight percent water before they
hit full capacity. That’s a column measurement. The other measurement that’s really interesting to
take a look at are point measurements. We’ll list those as fractional water index and we have
those at two inches, four inches, ten inches, and twenty-four inches. We can look at the
number of different depths on the fractional water index. Right
now, if we take a look at those in November
2014 we can see that we have some good
surface water across the state, but as we go down deeper, we can really
see the effects of drought in those dryer deeper soil levels. Another thing that we can monitor on the
Mesonet for, not a whole lot of sites, but we actually have a dynamic
groundwater monitoring systems at a number of sites
across the state. One of the things that’s a graph and we
do need to be careful to check what level we are on the left-side of the graph. This is
showing the depth to the groundwater. Here at Chickasha, if we pull that up and
look at that data, we’re about 16 feet to 17 feet down to the groundwater. If we go out to a place like Weatherford and get that
data, then this scale changes and we’re
actually going down about a 140 plus feet till we get to that groundwater. One of the things that farmers can use
to really look ahead are the National Weather Service
forecast precipitation maps. These are really handy because it’s a course data set, it gives you a forecast of rainfall over a geographic area. We’re looking here at a map on November 20th and we’re looking out from November 20th to
November 25th and we have a map that shows pretty
heavy rainfall in the southeast parted the state moving back towards a central part of
the state. We actually have an estimate rainfall amounts over a five-day period. It’s really a nice tool to look at forecasts in a new
way. You can access Mesonet data at mesonet.org or download the iPhone app or the Android app and they display the
rainfall maps on there and a number different other weather
parameters. [music]