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NCEP Home > NCO Home > Systems Integration Branch > Restricted Data Information > Mesonet Data

Mesonet Data

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Mesonets are small-scale networks of meteorological observing sites, often coordinated by state government or private entities, and each one normally covering only a very distinct, compact geographical area. NCEP receives all of its Mesonet data through a feed from NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) Global Systems Division (formerly Forecast Systems Laboratory (FSL)); however, each individual Mesonet provider retains ownership rights to its own data and therefore sets its own rules regarding to whom and how it may be redistributed. Because of this arrangement, it is especially important for users to always be aware of the exact restrictions on the particular type(s) of Mesonet data with which they are working. Each type is stored in the observational database under a separate BUFR subtype within b255; however, in order to know the exact restrictions on any particular type of Mesonet data, it is necessary to unpack and examine the value corresponding to the following BUFR mnemonic descriptor RSRD:

RSRD - Restrictions on redistribution (Flag table)

Bit Number Meaning
1 No redistribution allowed
2 Can redistribute to any U.S. government agency
3 Can redistribute to any U.S. research group
4 Can redistribute to any U.S. educational institution
5 Can redistribute to any U.S. government agency within NOAA
6-8 Reserved
All 9 Missing

This descriptor is present within every Mesonet data report within every BUFR subtype within category b255, and it is also present in the model dump files which contain the name msonet. The value is given in terms of a flag table field of 9 bits (numbering from left to right), where the corresponding restriction applies whenever a particular bit is set. For example, a value of 256 occurs whenever bit 1 (and only that bit!) is set, and this means that the corresponding Mesonet data may not be redistributed to anyone at all outside of the NCEP Central Computer System. At the other extreme is when a value of "Missing" occurs, meaning that all 9 bits were set, and in which case there are no restrictions whatsoever on the corresponding data (i.e. it can be freely redistributed to the general public!). For most of the Mesonet types, however, the truth lies somewhere in between. For example, a value of 224 occurs whenever bits 2, 3, and 4 were set (i.e. 128 + 64 + 32 = 224 ), and this in turn means that the corresponding data type may be redistributed to any U.S. government agency, research group, or educational institution. Similarly, a value of 48 ( = 32 + 16 ) would indicate that the corresponding data type may be redistributed to any U.S. educational institution or to any NOAA agency. Thus, it is important to always examine the value corresponding to BUFR mnemonic RSRD in order to know precisely the nature of the restrictions which apply to the corresponding type of Mesonet data.

So, to summarize:

The restrictions:

  • The restrictions on redistribution for each type of Mesonet data are defined separately by the individual provider of that type, so users must check the RSRD value for each type (as explained above) in order to determine the allowable set of recipients to whom the data may be redistributed.
  • For all types of Mesonet data, there is no expiration on any such restrictions, meaning that the data remains restricted to only the allowable set of recipients for perpetuity.

Obligations of users:

  • Users of any type of Mesonet data may redistribute it to the allowable recipients as defined by the individual provider for the data type in question (see above). However, before doing so, the user must first complete the "inform and acknowledge" procedure with the intended recipient as described on the previous page. In the case of Mesonet data, this acknowledgement must also cover the following disclaimer:
  • "NOAA/ESRL/GSD and the Mesonet data providers disclaim liability of any kind whatsoever, including, without limitation, liability for quality, performance, merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose arising out of the use or inability to use the data."
  • A template for completing the required "inform and acknowledge" procedure is available which may be cut-and-pasted into an e-mail from the user to the intended recipient. Once the reply acknowledgement is received from the recipient, the user should then forward copies of this acknowledgement to the NCEP Restricted Data Management Team ( and to the ESRL/GSD Mesonet Data Manager ( before making the redistribution.

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Page last modified: Thursday, 18-May-2006 21:59:08 UTC