Osborn Weather Station

Fred Galbreath youngermeadow, woodland, vista Fred Galbreath older

Unused sensors were donated by the Geography Department to the Center to serve as the basis for a new weather station at the Osborn Preserve. Two Engineering Science students took on the challenge of constructing a long-term weather station as their capstone project. Project goals included transmitting data wirelessly to the base station, easy to read LabView interface, robust and reliable outdoor system, self-sufficient power, data storage for extended periods of time, compliance with EPA standards for climate measurements, and long system lifespan.

Project Lead(s): Farid Farahmand (Engineering)

Dates: Fall 2010 to Spring 2011

Scholarship: service-learning (capstone project)

Course(s): ES492/3: Senior Design Projects I & II

Funding: Center for Environmental Inquiry, Geography Department

Faculty:  Farid Farahmand (Engineering): Mohammed Haider (Engineering)

Students: Kyler Connelly (Engineering); Chris Dennison (Engineering)

Partners: Center for Environmental Inquiry; Department of Engineering; Department of Geography

The weather station tower was installed using Campbell Scientific guidelines (UT20 and UT30 Tower-based Weather Stations. Copyright © 1993-2010 Campbell Scientific, Inc.). Weather sensors and transmission equipment is powered using solar panels, homemade wind generator, and a 6V 4.5 Ah Universal battery. Upon installation sensors were over 15 years old but had never been removed from their shipping boxes. Each sensor was tested before installation using manufacturer guidelines:

  • Solar Radiation - WEATHERtronics’ Star Pyranometer Model 3020
  • Rain Gauge - DataLynx Instruments Tipping Bucket Model 260-300; accurate to within ± 3% with precipitation of 1-60 inches per hour
  • Wind Speed and Direction: Young Model 05103 Wind Monitor; accurate to within 2.2 mph up to 130 mph; 360º range accurate to within 5º
  • Air Temperature - Microchip Temperature Sensor MCP9701; enclosed within Young Model 41002 Gill Multi-Plate Radiation Shield
  • Barometric Pressure -
  • Humidity - installed within Young Model 41002 Gill Multi-Plate Radiation Shield

Data are transmitted from the weather tower to a computer housed in the Marjory Osborn Research and Education Center. All the data are saved in .xls files and plotted locally using LabVIEW. To make data available on the internet, files from the Osborn computer are downloaded manually using TeamViewer and then postprocessed using AWK, Python, and Shell Scripting to fix the time format and remove invalid data. Data are then uploaded into a Google Spreadsheet in Google Document and Google Chart is used to plot variables (e.g., Temp, Rain). (To learn more about weather station system hardware and processes used to test the circuitry for reliablity and accuracy, refer to FOCS Weather Station).

Weather Data - Excel (.xls) files are available with data on wind speed and direction, solar radiation, rainfall, air temperature, barometric pressure, and humidity

On-line Data - Osborn weather data are available on-line at this site courtesy of Farid Farahmand in the Engineering Department