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Monitoring Inversions for Chemical Drift Risk

Boundary layer inversions (when the temperature increases with height) have been found to be conducive to chemical drifts off target that could damage unintended vegetation.  Unfortunately, monitoring for these inversions is rare and can be highly dependent on microclimate environments (e.g., low-lying valleys).  Across the Midwest and Central Plains regions, several state mesonets (networks of weather stations) have started monitoring for inversions.  However, there is no region-wide resources that links these data across states and presents the data from a climatological perspective.  The US Department of Agriculture, through partnership with the USDA Midwest Climate Hub, has provided funding for the Indiana State Climate Office to develop hourly climatologies of boundary-layer inversions and region-wide online monitoring tools.  With increased understanding of the development, timing, and persistence of these inversions, chemical applications could be utilized with reduced risk to off-target damage.