Assessing Meso-Scale Equivalent Temperature in Kentucky
Monday, 15 December 2014
The purpose of this research is to investigate meso-scale equivalent temperatures (TE) in Kentucky and potential land cover influences. There is a unique opportunity to perform a study of this kind in Kentucky because of the observational infrastructure provided by the Kentucky Mesonet (www.kymesonet.org). This network maintains 65 research grade in situ weather and climate observing stations across the commonwealth. Equivalent temperatures were calculated utilizing high quality observations from 34 of these stations. In addition, the Kentucky Mesonet also offers higher spatial and temporal resolution than any of the previous research on this topic. As expected, the differences (TE-T) were greatest in summer, with averages of 40ºC, and smallest in winter, with averages of 10ºC. The higher TE values in the summer are attributed to increased atmospheric moisture content. Spatial patterns of these differences were also analyzed by season. In general, the differences were found to be larger in the Loess Plains (far western KY), Crawford-Mammoth Cave Uplands (western and south central KY), Western Highland Rim (western KY), and Eastern Highland Rim (south central KY). These differences are smaller during periods of drought, signifying less influence of moisture. Results of this research will improve understanding of how land use/land cover potentially affects meso-scale atmospheric heat content. Additionally, these results can be applied to areas located in similar climate zones, with comparable land cover attributes that do not have a comprehensive mesonet to conduct this type of research.