An Adaptive Mesonet to Monitor Wind, Surge, Wave & Rainfall Intensities and Damage at Landfall

Since the late 1990s, tropical meteorology, wind engineering, coastal engineering and surface hydrology research programs have conducted experiments at landfall to collect wind, storm surge, wave, precipitation and damage data. With few exceptions, however, these programs have operated independently. 

In January of 2009, the field research programs organized a first-of-its-kind symposium at LSU to begin the process of meshing the independent deployment activities together to form organized campaigns that produce integrated datasets in real‐time.  The major outcome was the creation of an umbrella organization that provides “global” coordination at landfall while allowing individual programs to meet their research deliverables.

Thus the Digital Hurricane Consortium (DHC) was formed.  Its constituent academic members include the experts in wind and flood monitoring from the Center for Severe Weather Research, Clemson University, Florida Institute of Technology, Florida International University, Louisiana State University, Texas Tech University, University of Alabama at Huntsville, University of Colorado, University of Florida, University of Oklahoma, University of North Florida and the University of Notre Dame.  The DHC receives direct oversight and coordination from the Applied Technology Council (ATC), which is a nonprofit, tax-exempt corporation that facilitates technology transfer from state-of-the-art, multi-disciplinary collaborations between universities with regard to mitigating the effects of natural and other hazards on the built and natural environments.  ATC has played a long-standing role with FEMA and other federal agencies in the earthquake research community.  Recently, it began developing an analog in TC research aimed toward wind and flood mitigation.

These programs are working closely with government laboratories, including the USGS Office of Surface Water and the NOAA Hurricane Research Division, to:

·         Coordinate the collection and analysis of wind, surge, wave and damage data acquired from mobile platforms and teams of research personnel through the development of pre-planned strategies that adapt to size of the wind field, hurricane track and intensity, coastal geography, risk of flooding, etc.

·         Catalyze remote sensing of hurricane winds through real-time production of multi-Doppler radar generated velocity fields to create instantaneous situational awareness about the structure and intensity of the hurricane over the most heavily impacted areas

·         Operationalize data collection and analysis to assist decision makers.  Our nation’s ability to determine the severity of and the appropriate response to a hurricane impact is based on the how quickly actionable information can be relayed to public and private decision makers at the local, state and national levels, yet as of today only a small fraction of the data collected during field experiments is made available

The combined observational assets in the DHC exceed 100 specialized devices and instrument platforms designed to withstand the harsh environment of a hurricane.  Contingent of funding, the DHC plans to initialize the first experimental testbeds in the 2009 Atlantic Hurricane Season.


For more information, contact Dr. Forrest Masters.