Osborn weather station

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.

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 AWKPython, 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 reliability and accuracy, refer to FOCS Weather Station).


Project Results
Title Format Download Students
Fairfield Osborn Climate Station report Fairfield Osborn Climate Station project description Kyler Connelly, Chris Dennison
Weather data May-June 2012 data Osborn weather station May-Jun 2012  Kyler Connelly, Chris Dennison