All five University of North Georgia campuses now have individual weather stations that provide data to faculty, students and the public. Each station has weather tracking equipment including anemometers to track wind speed and barometers to measure pressure. The stations reflect sunlight to determine the temperature and feature built-in cameras to record the local weather visually.
Dr. Jamie Mitchem, a professor of weather and climate at UNG, started the process of acquiring the weather stations by contacting the company WeatherStem. The Institute for Environmental and Spatial Analysis at UNG purchased the stations to help professors with instruction and increase local weather knowledge among students and the community.
“There’s a lot of benefits that come from [the weather stations],” Mitchem said. He can use the equipment and data recorded from the stations to help make his weather and climate course more relevant for students. Police and emergency management at UNG can use the stations to help the community stay informed of weather-related emergencies.
With the help of UNG’s IT and facilities departments, Mitchem and the IESA installed and set up the stations across UNG’s five campuses at the end of the spring semester.
The new weather systems were able to track the weather during this year’s solar eclipse. The weather system on the Blue Ridge campus was in the path of totality and captured images and weather data during the eclipse.
UNG’s new systems also tracked the weather during North Georgia’s first-ever tropical storm. Although all five campuses collected data, the information from the Gainesville campus remains incomplete. While the systems are solar-powered, the data collection equipment requires electricity and temporarily stopped recording during the storm.
“There was a power outage here that did affect the station, so there’s a gap in the data,” Mitchem said. “As the wind peaked, the power went out. [The recording] picks back up as soon as the power comes back on, so you can kind of connect the dots.”
The WeatherSTEM website, the free WeatherSTEM app and the social media platforms listed below all provide information and live video coverage from each of UNG’s weather systems. In addition to the regularly-tracked data, each station has a 24-hour time-lapse video created at the end of the day.