WiSE Research Facilities - The StickNet Project
Students and faculty at Texas Tech University have developed a versatile rapid-deployment 2.5 m meteorological observing platform for the collection of in-situ measurements requiring a short deployment timeline. Affectionately dubbed "StickNet" for its resemblance to a stick figure, these probes provide a mobile observational network capable of operation in a variety of environments. The current StickNet network consists of 24 platforms distributed amongst two covered trailers. Each platform can be deployed by two individuals in the manner of minutes.
Since its inception in 2005, the Texas Tech University StickNet systems have been an integral surface observing platform during numerous field experiments. Most notable of these projects was the Verification of the Origin of Rotation of Tornadoes Experiment 2 (VORTEX2) in 2009-2010 where StickNet observations were used to help understand the processes driving tornado genesis and maintenance.
The Severe Convective OUtflow in Thundestorms (SCOUT) project conducted in 2011 focused on collecting high spatial and temporal surface measurements of thunderstorm outflows to assess and compare the turbulent characteristics of different outflow events. The StickNet platforms have also traveled to the coast to observe multiple hurricane landfalls including Dolly and Ike in Texas in 2008. The highest wind speed recorded by a StickNet platform to date is 115 mph during the landfall of Hurricane Ike.
The StickNet fleet functions as an autonomous mobile observing network capable of observing a variety of meteorological phenomena including dryline properties, urban wind flows, density currents, synoptic wind events, terrain-induced flows, etc. The number of probes has continued to expand as funding opportunities are presented. The end goal is to double the current fleet, providing 48 probes distributed amongst four trailers
(Above) WiSE Ph.D. graduate and Research Associate Dr. Brian Hirth sets up one of the StickNet observational platforms in the field.
Text Credit: Dr. Brian Hirth. Photo Credit: Dr. Ian Giammanco