Sagehen Creek Field Station
Basin Site-Sensing Metadata


The historic East Meadow (Tower #1) weather station was established for manual measurements in the 1950's in the lower camp just west of the tool shed (manual precip measurements continued through 2007 through the NOAA Cooperative Observer Program).

In 1992, Shorty Boucher and Mark Reynolds got an NSF grant to add the station's first automated weather station. This data has always been collected to the Western Region Climate Center (WRCC).

Over the years, the Lower Camp location grew over with evergreen trees, rendering it less accurate as a weather data collection and atmospheric monitoring site.

In the fall of 2001, several new monitoring projects began at Sagehen, including precipitation monitoring by Arlen Huggins of DRI, the installation of an NADP site, and a new weather tower and additional hydrological instrumentation by Doug Boyle of DRI.

In conjunction with these projects, we relocated the weather station to the more open and spacious East Meadow, approximately 200 yards east of the old site (39°25.893' N 120°14.393' W; elevation: 6335 feet).

There is one year of overlapping comparison data for the sites.

Precipitation Gauging...

The historic precipitation gauge in the East Meadow was an unreliable tilt-bucket type. For more accurate data, Sagehen also collected and contributed manual precipitation readings to the National Weather Service Cooperative Station Observations program until 2007.

To provide ground-truthing for cloud seeding operations and regional Doppler radar readings, Arlen Huggins of DRI installed a GEONOR precipitation gauge at Sagehen next to the historic weather station. In order to get overlapping data, we recorded precipitation from both gauges starting in the fall of 2001 (when the GEONOR was first installed) until October 29, 2002.

On that date, we removed our crappy old tilt-bucket gauge and made the GEONOR our only precip. We also moved the gauge to a more open area in the meadow near the NADP site. For the indicated period of time, the GEONOR was recorded as "#2 rain gauge" and the old gauge continued to be "precip" in the data record. From 10-29-02 to the present, the "precip" record is from the GEONOR.

If you need the complete data record for the GEONOR, try hunting around the records for the "#2 rain gauge" data in the WRCC records. If you have trouble finding it or need older, archived data, contact Arlen Huggins at DRI:

We also collected manual precip for the overlap period and found that the GEONOR was right on. Jeff actually felt that it was probably a bit more accurate than his manual measurements, even though he was quite careful. The station has the manual records available if you need them.

Other Weather Data Sources...

Sagehen's remote weather data sources in the Sagehen Creek & Independence basins continue to expand, starting with four additional towers with basic weather monitoring & ground moisture sensing installed temporarily in 2002 and permanently in 2003. Three 100' towers came in 2008.

This early expanded data is spotty. Despite assistance from Kevin Browne & Marchall Minobe at UCNRS, we had immense trouble keeping the network running &--when it didn't--figuring out where problems lay along the data collection & communications chain. We eventually resolved some of these issues around early 2009 by re-siting some towers, upgrading the communications backbone hardware, increasing electrical production & storage, adding Meraki units for on-line status reporting, getting all dataloggers on automatic download via TCP/IP, & joining the Keck database along with Angelo Reserve.

During this period, Doug Boyle at DRI began dramatically increasing his investment in the basin, funding Brad Lyles to provide technnical support, adding entire towers &, at existing sites, enhancing instrumentation: soil chemistry, snow pillows, precipitation gauges, etc. There is more metadata about individual towers & instruments in the Keck database.

As of spring 2010, there were 10 networked Sagehen met towers in the basin, as well as communications towers & other collection sites like an NRCS SNOTEL site at the top of the basin ridgeline, and another on the shore of Independence Lake in the next basin over. We also continue to add stream & weather data collection in the North Fork of the American. See our Resources page for more detailed information & related data sets like groundwater height & temperature, stream flow & chemistry, etc. The Sagehen News blog also contains information about this ongoing process.

Sagehen sites are located along east-west & north-south altitude transects. Use our Google Map for precise current locations & any recent additions. You can download a spreadsheet listing all network & sensing components in the Sagehen basin.

After Doug Boyle became involved, other DRI faculty also took an interest. Joe McConnell installed sap-flow sensors around 2005. Scott Tyler temporarily installed eddy flux at about the same time.

In October 2014, Adrian Harpold took up faculty duty at UNR and began developing a research program at Sagehen, with expanded data collection and support. James Kirchner joined in soon after, providing eddy flux and support.

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