High Mountain Hydro-Meteorological Network


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Meteorological observation at mountains is very tough. We have lernt from previous projects ( Peñalara Natural Park Meteorological Network) that getting a reliable and continued data series of even the simplest variable is difficult. This tasks become even more difficult if the objective is to end up with very long and homogeneous series that are valid for climate research.

This projects feeds from the know-how on mountain meteorology observation, maintenance and management apprehended in the last decade. This experience has led us to design this network taking into account, among others, the following aspects:

  • Energy: long temperatures for long times affecting batteries, many days with solar radiation for solar power generation, optimization of measuring procedures and telecommunications
  • Extreme conditions: proper fixing, right structures, right sensors and logging systems.
  • Security: protection of instruments, workforce and environment
  • Quality: proper maintenance program and data validation.
  • Representativity: the best locations for the proper measuring techniques


The objective for us is to install and maintain a network at a mountain location with excellent data completion and realiable observations. Following high standard of quality, respect to the environment and labor security.


For this network we have use what we considered the best ingredients considering the budget and the objectives. There are other good options, of course, we hope to test them in the future. For this project we went for :

  • GPRS routing: the standard for us. But in this case we chose a router with free RJ45 connections for future needs.
  • CR3000: as datalogging system. CS is always a good option and CR3000 gave us total flexibility on the programming and endurance. The display is really helpfull at this locations, were bringing or event start a PC is sometimes impossible.
  • OTT Pluvio 2. No power for heating, so tipping bucket was neglected from the first time. This rain gauge uses a weighting principle that we found very robust at similar locations. But more than the measuring principle we love that big collecting orifice. It is necessary a lot of snow and rime to collapse that.
  • Young Alpine Wind Monitor: Without heating this is for us the best solution for alpine locations. Not perfect, but we think a good solution for less data gaps with rime.
  • Masts. Here we used off-the shelf solutions like lattice towers but we did some interesting new developments for housing of systems and holding sensors and panels. We are working a lot on this aspect.
  • Air temperature: we went for classical Rotronic probe with CS housing but we would like to check at some locations inter-comparability with Rotronic aspirated housing. We cant wait for those results!

Other sensors like Hukseflux 4 components radiometer, Felix Technology Inc. snow height sensor were installed. In this case we are in a learning process and this project will let us have an opinion on these.


Installation went smoothly considering we know pretty well the area. Without some extra help it would had been difficult to fulfill deadlines. It was a hard job but good to see at the end. During the first winter we had some incidences that required some corrective actions, something that is normal at the beginning of such an installation. First winter was anomalously cold and windy, with frequent episodes of rime that affected the instruments and structures. We have discussed with the client some points of the measuring strategy and relocation of some sensors in order to reach maximum robustness.