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Everybody talks about the weather, but...

Posted by Jesh Livstrom '10, Roseville on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2007

The University of Minnesota, Morris (UMM) has become a contributor to the Citizen’s Weather Observation Program (CWOP), which feeds climatic data to such institutions as NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) and more than 4,000 universities and research institutions worldwide. This process is made possible by the recent installation of a weather station located on the top of the UMM science building. The principal incentive for installing the weather station, according to Sylke Boyd, UMM professor of physics, is to focus on instructional purposes for students in various physics classes, such as Phys1063, Physics of Weather, taught at UMM by Boyd. However, all students and the general public should be aware of this helpful tool.

The weather station is active 24 hours each day and the results are shared with the CWOP, which is an international research based private-public partnership. The data that CWOP collects from the weather stations is used for research by over 400 institutions across the globe including the (NASA), the National Weather Service (NWS), the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and various universities.

Besides contributing to worldwide research and UMM physics classes, the weather station can also benefit anyone who wants to use it. Those interested in learning about temperatures or weather-related statistics and summaries can conveniently locate them on the weather station’s Web site at weather station. The Web site has been operational since June 7 and is updated every three minutes. Some of its perks include graphics, historical records and various summaries as well as sensors for temperature, pressure, humidity, wind speed/direction and rain fall. The Web site also includes text, which describes various weather measurement terms.

The weather station and Web site are maintained by Boyd, who commented, “The weather station is a real bonus for class.” Boyd can be contacted for questions or comments regarding the weather station or Web site at Sylke Boyd.

A portion of the weather station includes this integrated sensor suite (ISS). The black funnel on top is the rain collector. The white plates underneath are a radiation shield, which shields the temperature, pressure and humidity sensors from solar radiation. The white box in front contains the radio transmitter and some electronic circuitry. It is powered by the solar panel visible in front. The wind sensor is separately located. The ISS is pictured prior to its installation on top of the Science building.