Baltimore Ecosystem Study Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2010 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

An End-to-End System for Precipitation Data Collection in the Baltimore Ecosystem Study LTER
Miller, Julia
Co-Authors: Julia Miller, Michael McGuire, Roxanne Sanderson, Claire Welty

Abstract: Collection of accurate rainfall data requires an end-to-end system that spans instrument deployment through data visualization. Implementation of this system is a complex process. Essential components include (1) installation of dual tipping-bucket rain gauges in the field, (2) deployment of a telemetry system for transmitting data from the field to a base station, (3) implementation of a web-based system for serving data from the base station to the public, (4) timely maintenance procedures; and (5) use of robust QA/QC and data archiving procedures. Here we present the details of a rigorous process that has recently been implemented by UMBC/CUERE for the Baltimore Ecosystem Study LTER rain gauges. This includes specifications of equipment and all construction materials for field stations; details on programming and deploying wireless modems; procedures for remotely connecting to the modem and setting up an automatic download of the data using Loggernet; implementation details of a new system for serving data over the web; and procedures for field maintenance, troubleshooting, and calibration of the rain gauges. Rain gauges are calibrated in the laboratory annually using both static and dynamic procedures based on University of Iowa methods. Calibration curves developed from the laboratory data are applied to measured field data as part of the QA/QC protocol. Corrected data are archived using the CUAHSI Observations Data Model. Implementation of this system ensures that the rainfall data product is of high quality for use in BES hydrologic modeling, bias-correction of Nexrad data, and biogeochemical and ecological studies.