UW Continues Wisconet Expansion

UW-Madison continues to expand the state’s mesonet. This is a system of weather and soil monitoring stations across Wisconsin that will give data reports about every 5 minutes. There are 20 stations currently operational.

Around 25-30 stations will come online in 2024. The team hopes to have 90 with at least one in every county by 2026.

Wisconsin weather has become increasingly more unpredictable and extreme since the 1950s, posing challenges for farmers, researchers, and the public. This statewide network of weather stations can help deal with weather obstacles.

UW-Madison Prof. Dan Vimont with the State Climatology Office gives us an update on the installation progress:

It costs about $11,000 per station. This effort is supported by a $2.3 million grant from the Wisconsin Rural Partnership, a U.S. Department of Agriculture-funded UW initiative, as well as $1 million from the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.

Unlike many other agricultural states, Wisconsin’s network of environmental monitoring stations was minimal. Almost half of the 14 weather and soil monitoring stations were at UW research stations, with the others concentrated in Kewaunee and the Door Counties on private fruit orchards.

Moving forward, these stations will move to a designated Wisconsin-based mesonet — called Wisconet: https://wisconet.wisc.edu/

Each station contains equipment to measure atmospheric and soil conditions. Instruments above ground measure wind speed and direction, humidity, air temperature, solar radiation, and liquid precipitation. Below ground, soil temperature and moisture levels are measured at certain depths.