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Drs. Ron Elliott, (from left) Kevin Kloesel, Pamela Heinselman, Fred Carr and Betsy Van der Veer Martens pose with Claude Bess and Dr. Jamey Jacob after a gathering of the newly formed Oklahoma Mesonet faculty advisory council Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020 at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater.

OSU’s chief drone expert joins new Oklahoma Mesonet advisory council

Thursday, February 13, 2020

The Oklahoma Mesonet has created a new faculty advisory council to draw on the knowledge of leading university experts in the state. 

Dr. Jamey Jacob, director of Oklahoma State University’s Unmanned Systems Research Institute, is among five faculty members who were named to the council Thursday. The Faculty Affiliates program aims to encourage faculty and students around the state to take greater advantage of the Mesonet, which has provided the latest in weather measurement and reporting since 1994. 

“The Oklahoma Mesonet has always understood the value of getting outside input and perspectives,” said Dr. Ron Elliott, co-chair of the Mesonet Steering Committee and emeritus professor in OSU’s Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering. “The concept of the Faculty Affiliates program was endorsed by an external review panel convened by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.”

Jacob’s extensive expertise in unmanned aerial systems was credited for his selection as an inaugural member of the council. As the state’s foremost expert in unmanned aerial systems, he will help develop ways to integrate drone technology into the Mesonet’s network of 120 monitoring sites across Oklahoma. 

“Dr. Jacob is a nationally and internationally recognized leader in unmanned aerial vehicle research and education,” Elliott said. “The Mesonet values his leadership in the UAV community and passion for cutting-edge, multidisciplinary research.”

Jacob, an avid user of Mesonet data, recognizes the network’s unique capabilities. 

“The Oklahoma Mesonet continues to serve as an example of how Oklahoma is leading the way when state agencies and our public research universities work together,” he said. “It remains the gold standard for weather measurements, and we hope to use this opportunity to take observations and forecasting to the next level.

“Working with the world-class Mesonet team is fantastic in and of itself. But to be a part of this inaugural group is a great honor.”

Mesonet sees adding a drone network as bolstering its ability to measure and predict weather phenomena across the state. OSU’s Unmanned Systems Research Institute has been working to develop technologies to monitor weather conditions, report the findings in real time and ways to use those findings to improve predictive models.

Jacob is joined in the inaugural class by fellow OSU faculty member Dr. Tyson Ochsner from the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, as well as Dr. Phillip Chilson, Dr. Jadwiga Ziolkowska and Dr. Betsy Van der Veer Martens from the University of Oklahoma.

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