New weather stations provide forecast for campuses, community

The weather stations at UNG provide important data for environmental science, geography, and geographic information systems classes.

Checking campus weather conditions is now a breeze thanks to the five weather station systems – one at each UNG campus – purchased and installed by UNG’s Lewis F. Rogers Institute for Environmental & Spatial Analysis (IESA) for classroom instruction and data mining use.

Dr. Jamie Mitchem, professor of geography at UNG, believes the study of weather provides an excellent foundation for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education as well as plenty of opportunities for exposing students to topics from a variety of disciplines.

“Any weather situation, from a few clouds dotting the sky to the most intense hurricane, can turn into a discussion covering everything from algebra to zoology,” Mitchem said.

Edward Mansouri, founder and CEO of WeatherSTEM, originally created the weather station program to infuse K-12 STEM curriculum with research and live data. He worked closely with UNG to provide a superior system that collects data about the north Georgia region’s current weather, weather forecasts and weather notifications, to be used as an educational resource.

The system provides an array of public safety features including lightning alerts, severe weather alerts, temperature forecasts, environmental cameras, and agricultural monitoring. It also archives past weather and gives weather forecasts for the coming days. The data can be used to teach about atmospheric pressure, wind speed and direction and cloud types.

The system creates cloud movies, 24-hour time-lapse videos that show the sky conditions for an entire day, in less than a minute. The videos are linked with graphs of temperature, pressure and dew point, also.

Dr. Jeff Turk, director of IESA, believes that students in the IESA program have many opportunities for real-world projects by way of the new weather stations.“The weather stations are an important source of data and information for IESA’s environmental science, geography and geographic information systems classes. Plus, these stations can be an excellent tool to support a variety of research initiatives at UNG,” Turk said.

At UNG’s Blue Ridge Campus, the weather station is highly important, because that type of weather data has not been previously collected in that region of the state.

The Gainesville Campus weather station is measuring soil moisture to be used by resident biologists to study spatial variations and its impact on different species of plants around the station. The system provides alerts for nearby lightning, strong winds, flooding rains, and extreme temperatures.