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State climatologist appointed as presiding officer of new TexMesonet Advisory Committee Posted on May 8, 2024

The 100th TexMesonet station was installed at the Edwards Aquifer Authority’s Field Research Park in northern Bexar County.

The newly created TexMesonet Advisory Committee appointed Dr. John Nielsen-Gammon as the group’s presiding officer on April 1. Nielsen-Gammon is the Texas state climatologist, a regents professor in Texas A&M University’s Department of Atmospheric Sciences, and director of the Southern Regional Climate Center.

The Texas Water Development Board’s (TWDB's) TexMesonet is the state’s comprehensive earth observation data collection network that plays a vital role in statewide flood monitoring, flood forecasting, and drought and wildfire response. This past legislative session, the 88th Texas Legislature recognized the importance of this network and established the TexMesonet Advisory Committee. This committee is tasked with making recommendations to ensure data quality and to optimize hydrometeorological data collection, product development, and dissemination of data and information to enhance the effectiveness of the TexMesonet Program.

“The TexMesonet fills critical gaps in statewide weather observations and collects data from existing networks to provide comprehensive snapshots and archives of routine and hazardous weather throughout the state of Texas,” said Nielsen-Gammon. “The high-quality data collected by TexMesonet stations helps us track and understand the water cycle in Texas, including droughts when there's not enough water and floods when there's too much water. In addition to making Texans safer, TexMesonet data helps farmers, ranchers, utility operators, water suppliers, scientists, and many weather-sensitive industries.” 

As the presiding officer, Dr. Nielsen-Gammon leads a diverse group of stakeholders on the committee, including representatives from the National Weather Service, federal and state agencies, hydrometeorological networks, and researchers in soil science, evapotranspiration, and agriculture. The committee will work to ensure that the TexMesonet Program continues to evolve and meet the needs of water users, managers, and planners across Texas.

Although initially created to improve flood warning, the TexMesonet Program is also an important component of the state’s efforts to better prepare for and respond to drought. Beyond water resources management, TexMesonet offers opportunities to inform decision-making in many key sectors of the economy.

“Since 2016, we have installed more than 100 stations and partnered with 18 networks to bring in an additional 1,500 reporting stations to expand our footprint across the state. As the program matures, we will rely on Dr. Nielsen-Gammon and the advisory committee to guide our development of high-quality information and data products. Their willingness to serve as technical mentors for this program is important to the long-term viability of the TexMesonet and to our ability to best serve the needs of Texans,” said Dr. Carla Guthrie, Director of the Surface Water Division at the TWDB.

“The TexMesonet is one of the youngest networks in the United States,” said Nielsen-Gammon. “Its advisory committee brings a wealth of experience in network design, instrumentation, operation, quality control, and data applications, helping the TWDB maximize the value of the TexMesonet to the citizens of Texas.”

Together with partners across the state, the TexMesonet establishes a unifying architecture for networks across Texas, aggregating data into a central location that includes stations maintained by the National Weather Service and several other regional and local entities. Additionally, the TWDB continues to strategically add its own managed stations to improve statewide coverage. If you are interested in providing data from a station or would like to find out more about the installation of a station on your property, email TexMesonet@twdb.texas.gov

To learn more about the TWDB’s 100th TexMesonet station installed in San Antonio in 2023, watch the video on the Texas Water Newsroom

Dr. John Nielsen-Gammon

Dr. John Nielsen-Gammon is a regents professor in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at Texas A&M University, the Texas state climatologist, and the director of the Southern Regional Climate Center. He holds S.B., S.M., and Ph.D. degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is a fellow of the American Meteorological Society and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has been a faculty member at Texas A&M University since 1991 and has served as the Texas state climatologist since 2000.

This article is posted in Technology / Weather / Drought / Water Data .