The Real-Time Hydrologic Monitoring Network (RTH_Net) Program (Stone Valley Forest)

The Real-Time Hydrologic Monitoring Network (RTH_Net) Program is being developed to support water resources researchers at Penn State as well as the broader hydrologic research community.

Initially, the deployment and management of the RTH_Net sensor arrays will focus on existing experiments located within Shale Hills, Leading Ridge, and Lake Perez catchments as well as new sites along Shaver Creek and the confluence with the Juniata River. The sensor arrays will be fully integrated with existing university, state and federally supported instrumentation at these locations (i.e., the USGS stream gauging network, the Leading Ridge EPA Acid Deposition site, and the NSF-Funded Shale Hills experimental watershed). The RTH_Net program represents an integrated effort across the programs of Civil Engineering, Forestry, Soil Sciences, Geography, and Meteorology at PSU.

The RTH_Net field facility is being established through the field deployment of "off the shelf" Internet Protocol (IP) compliant real-time sensor arrays. These sensor arrays will integrate climate stations, eddy covariance flux stations, stream gauging, soil moisture profilers, and pressure transducers for monitoring groundwater levels. Real-time internet accessible data from these sensor arrays will support research efforts investigating interactions between the atmosphere, surface and subsurface terrestrial processes, and the riverine hydrologic system. It will serve to modernize the current research infrastructure within the Penn State Stone Valley Forest and facilitate multidisciplinary environmental research into real-time sensor systems that are capable of closing water and energy budgets of multi-scale, multi-process water resources systems.

RTH_Net photos

Photo 1: Dr. Chris Duffy, Dr. Pat Reed, and Peter Beeson installing wells at Shale Hills Array Two
Photo 2: Testing radio communications at Shale Hills

The RTH_Net program is being developed to satisfy the following objectives:

  • Coordinated deployment of weather stations, E-T-R sensor arrays, and stream
    gauging to resolve the coupling between climatic, hydrologic, and hydrogeologic
    elements of the primary catchments that compose the Penn State Stone Valley Forest under changing atmospheric, vegetative, topographic conditions
  • Provide reliable internet access and analysis tools for the real-time data
    generated by the sensor array network as well as historical and ongoing data archives
  • Provide benchmark hydrologic datasets that will help define the role
    hydrogeology plays in long-term and short-term runoff (e.g., droughts and floods) as well as longer term climate dynamics and landuse change.

Weather Station

The weather station at Shale Hills Array One

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