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Hi, I’m Ruben Behnke, and I’m the Nebraska Mesonet Manager. Previous to this position, I worked for 5 and half years with the South Dakota Mesonet.
I have always been fascinated by the weather, and specifically, enjoy taking weather observations. It may come as a surprise, but basic weather observations still form the basis of current atmospheric science, even in lieu of the most sophisticated weather models. Taking these observations is often as much an art as it is science, and there are many different aspects to weather observation, ranging from site location to web development and the electronics behind the instrumentation. So, my job duties vary significantly from day to day, which I enjoy greatly. In fact, a large part of my job is talking with people who use or want to use our data, which is one of my favorite parts of my job.
The observations we take are used a in wide variety of applications, including National Weather Service forecasting and verification. Farmers often use our data to gauge when planting, spraying, or harvesting conditions are right, based on parameters such as accumulated Growing Degree Days or soil moisture. Emergency and/or land and water managers use our data to predict flooding potential, heat and cold risk/values, and much more. I am always open to talking with anyone who wants to know more!