Jefferson Project Makes Lake George Science Data Publicly Available Through New Digital Dashboard

Site offers real-time water quality and weather data

June 16, 2020


The Jefferson Project at Lake George is making real-time water quality and weather data from its unprecedented scientific monitoring and research program available directly to the public through a new digital Data Dashboard at

Founded in 2013, The Jefferson Project is the groundbreaking environmental research collaboration between IBM Research, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and The FUND for Lake George that is committed to preserving and protecting the lake’s legendary water quality through cutting-edge science and highly advanced technologies. The Project’s extensive monitoring, modeling, and experiments have helped to make Lake George “The Smartest Lake in the World.”

The new dashboard, the only publicly available display of IBM’s world-leading targeted weather forecasting technology, Deep Thunder, allows people to view hour-by-hour, highly localized forecasts for their current location on Lake George, or by searching for a specific address or clicking a point on the dashboard’s map. The available forecast includes air temperature, wind speed, wind gusts, visibility, and rain and snow rates and accumulations. Deep Thunder provides localized forecasts for every six-tenths of a mile throughout the lake’s watershed — at least three times more localized than other publicly available weather forecast models.

The new Jefferson Project dashboard includes:

  • real-time data from five weather stations along the lake, reporting air temperature, wind speed, humidity, and barometric pressure;
  • real-time data from sensor stations on four of the lake’s tributaries, reporting water temperature, depth, pH, and conductivity (i.e., salt levels);
  • the most highly localized Lake George weather forecasts publicly available, generated by IBM’s world-leading targeted weather forecasting technology, Deep Thunder; and
  • four decades of water-quality monitoring data from 14 deep-water sites, including clarity, temperature, nutrient levels, and algal abundance.

The weather and tributary station data come from the more than 50 sensor platforms and 500 “smart sensors” deployed by the project in and around Lake George as part of its sophisticated lake-monitoring system. The sensors monitor the weather, the water quality of streams that feed the lake, the water conditions from the lake surface to the lake bottom, and the lake’s circulation patterns. They capture immense amounts of physical and chemical data, which feed powerful computer models and inform a wide variety of experiments, all designed to pinpoint existing threats to the lake’s health, identify future threats, and develop science-guided solutions and best practices to protect the resource and the people and wildlife who rely on it.

The weather forecast function is powered by IBM’s Deep Thunder, which combines data from the project’s weather stations along with other meteorological information, to provide scientists with The Jefferson Project an unprecedented level of geographically precise meteorological data to help them better understand the weather’s influence on the lake’s water quality and ecosystem.

This is the first generation of The Jefferson Project Data Dashboard, and new content and functionality are planned for the months ahead.

Rick Relyea, director of the Darrin Fresh Water Institute at Rensselaer and director of The Jefferson Project, said, “We are delighted to make Jefferson Project data available to the public in such a highly accessible way as we all work together to ensure sustained lake protection.”

Harry Kolar, IBM Fellow at IBM Research and associate director of The Jefferson Project, said, “The utilization of Deep Thunder by the Data Dashboard provides high-resolution weather forecasts for the Lake George area, at both the geographical and time scales. The highly accurate forecasts continue to support the scientific mission of The Jefferson Project and will be of interest to the recreational users of the Dashboard.”

Eric Siy, executive director of The FUND for Lake George and associate director of The Jefferson Project, said, “The Jefferson Project is generating a tremendous volume and diversity of data about the physics, chemistry, and biological health of Lake George. This data is now guiding The FUND’s pursuit of solutions and investments that will protect the lake’s legendary water clarity and quality for generations to come. We are thrilled to give the public a closer look at the system that makes Lake George ‘The Smartest Lake in the World.’”

For more information on The Jefferson Project, visit

Written By Mary L. Martialay
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