In 1983, in cooperation with the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) began "piggy-backing" a network of automatic agricultural weather stations onto Reclamation's regional Hydromet satellite telemetry network. The Hydromet network is a series of automated data collection platforms that provide information necessary for near-real-time management of Reclamation's water operations in the Pacific Northwest. As a subset of the overall Hydromet network, this agricultural network, dedicated to crop water use modeling and other agricultural applications, has been identified as AgriMet.
The present AgriMet network consists of over 70 agricultural weather stations located throughout the Pacific Northwest (see map). Three stations operated by the NOAA Air Resources Laboratory in Idaho Falls, Idaho provide the weather data required to model evapotranspiration at Aberdeen, Kettle Butte, and Monteview, Idaho. Over 20 stations east of the Continental Divide in Montana are managed by the Bureau of Reclamation Great Plains Region.
The network is sponsored by the US Bureau of Reclamation with additional support from the USDA Agricultural Resource Service , the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service , land grant universities, the Cooperative Extension System, electric utilities, power companies, and other public and private agencies and organizations.
Real-time AgriMet data is transmitted from individual stations (photo) to Reclamation's receive site in Boise, Idaho through the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite GOES-8, GOES-9 and DOMSAT satellites. Each station transmits its data once an hour. Data collection intervals within the hourly transmit period are dependent on the specific sensor equipment at each station. Types of data collected at each station varies. The data is processed on minicomputers running the OpenVMS operating system at the Boise Regional Office, then made available on the World Wide Web.
Data are reviewed daily for quality control purposes, but all numbers should be considered provisional unless officially released by appropriate Reclamation personnel.