Last Updated on March 15, 2019 by Angela Colonna
FAWN, or the Florida Automated Weather Network, is a system of weather stations created as a resource for industry professionals to make informed management decisions in agriculture production. Since 1998, FAWN has monitored dew point, relative humidity, precipitation, air and soil temperature, wind speed and direction and wet bulb temperature.
In total, there are 42 weather stations in Florida at UF/IFAS Extension offices, research and education centers, like the Mid-Florida Research and Education Center (MREC) in Apopka, or on public land. Generally, each weather station is 30 feet tall, like in Apopka, but some are considered ‘mini’ at 10 feet tall.
“Moisture in air impacts the temperature a lot more than people think,” Larry Treadway said, the FAWN network engineer located at MREC.
Useful tools on the FAWN website include the Extension Ag Weather Report, My Florida Farm Weather, National Weather Service (NWS) Forecast and graphic weather data based upon location. Climate prediction data from AgroClimate is also showcased to understand general trends in weather, such as short-term precipitation and temperature, for present and future plans.
The graphic weather data in particular is presented in a line graph with key points based upon location within a chosen time range. This graph shows the temperature at 2 feet, 6 feet and 30 feet, soil temperature, dew point and wet bulb temperature. The dew point and wet bulb temperature are measured at 6 feet.
Each data point is recorded every 15 minutes and archived on a database to be accessed later and/or downloaded. Online graphs can be accessed by anyone and are free.
Temperature at different heights is helpful for ag production because it inverts during the day. For example, it will be warmer at 30 feet off the ground at noon than at 2 feet at noon, but at night the opposite occurs so 2 feet will be warmer than 30 feet. This information is helpful for let’s say strawberries if it gets too chilly since they are low-lying crops on the ground,
Whether you are caring for cows, citrus, strawberries or any ag product in between, FAWN is a key agricultural planning offering useful insight on how to prepare for the future.
Although this is a UF-affiliated project and partially funded by the state, a majority of operating funds to support this program come from outside of the university. If you would like to contribute to FAWN please follow this link for more information.
To find the closest weather station to you, visit the FAWN website.