Due to the dynamic weather and climate conditions across the Southern Plains of the United States, many regional, national, or international field experiments are conducted in Oklahoma. Because the Oklahoma Climatological Survey operates tremendous observational assets, including the Oklahoma Mesonet, and employs experts in near-surface measurement equipment and systems, OCS personnel often participate in the field experiments. At the same time, the multi-instituional teams access resources at OCS and our sister organizations within the National Weather Center. In the end, these experiments provide:
Below are some of the field experiments that OCS participated in most intensely.
The Cloud and Land Surface Interaction Campaign (CLASIC) was conducted across the Southern Plains (SGP) during the summer of 2007. The cross-disciplinary interagency research effort was designed to advance the understanding of how land surface conditions influence the development of shallow clouds which are important components of the atmospheric radiation budget and hydrologic cycle, particularly during the summertime growing season. The Oklahoma Climatological Survey was actively involved in the deployment and maintenance of temporary research equipment designed to measure the flux of moisture and energy from the land-surface to the atmosphere at three main sites: the Little Washita Watershed, the Fort Cobb Watershed, and a forest canopy near Okmulgee.
The U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. Department of Defense's Defense Threat Reduction Agency sponsored a month-long atmospheric dispersion study in Oklahoma City during July 2003. The study was designed to track the air movement of safe, non-toxic tracer gases in and around city buildings. Throughout the month of July, an immense number of observations were gathered and stored for future research. Resulting data will be used to enhance and develop urban specific computer models that will allow emergency management, law enforcement, and other personnel to train for and respond to potential terrorist attack and accidental chemical spills. The sponsors and participating scientists would like to thank the City of Oklahoma City and the citizens who work or live in the downtown area for their considerable cooperation and support. Results of this study were used to deploy an urban micronet in Oklahoma City, used by decision makers ranging from public safety to public works.
The Soil Moisture Experiment 2003 (SMEX03) was conducted primarily by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to validate new satellite products from both U.S. and Japanese space agencies before new sensors were launched into space aboard a satellite. The products validated included daily values of soil moisture, which is a rarely measured (though critically important) variable in surface observing systems. Oklahoma's soil moisture network provided much needed "ground truth."
The Oklahoma Mesonet provided verification data to the experiment from their meteorological and soil moisture sensors in the field. Additionally, the Oklahoma Climatological Survey sent students into the field before and during the experiment to gather supplemental soil cores and infrared temperature measurements, take site photographs, and clean the meteorological instruments at the Mesonet stations.
The SMEX03 was conducted in Oklahoma, Alabama, Georgia, and Brazil due to the various vegetation types in these locations. More detailed information regarding the SMEX03 can be found at: http://hydrolab.arsusda.gov/smex03/
The International H2O Project (IHOP_2002) was conducted across the Southern Great Plains (SGP) of the United States from 13 May to 25 June 2002. The primary focus of IHOP_2002 was improved characterization of the four-dimensional (4-D) distribution of water vapor in the atmosphere and its application to improving the understanding and prediction of the development of clouds and precipitation. The Southern Plains of the United States was an optimal location due to the existing experimental and operational facilities that collect atmospheric measurements, strong variability in moisture, and active thunderstorm development. The OCS staff provided expertise in the climatological background needed for IHOP_2002, local field resources, and critical observations including the Oklahoma Mesonet.