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Weather station up and running at UTPA
By Javier Espinoza, Intern
(956) 665-2741
Posted: 09/19/2011
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The University of Texas-Pan American Environmental Science Program recently launched its own weather station to record and gather the weather activity at the campus and in the Edinburg area.


UTPA Image
James Fullingim, environmental science major research student, monitors and makes adjustments to the weather station recently installed at UTPA. The weather station transmits to an Environmental Bio-Monitoring Research Lab at THe University, where data such as temperature, dew point, humidity, and wind speed and wind direction is gathered, observed and used by students in the Environmental Science Program.
Dr. Frank Dirrigl, assistant professor of environmental science at UTPA, created the portable weather station along with James Fullingim, environmental science major research student.

“It’s the perfect opportunity to combine the weather station with some of the things I’m interested in, like rainfall events and my research which focuses on looking at different bio indicators, either plants or animals,” Dirrigl said.

The weather station is currently located on top of the Science Building and transmits to Dirrigl’s Environmental Bio-Monitoring Research Lab. Weather conditions at the University and Edinburg can now be observed through this weather station.

“We were looking for something more accurate with our weather readings as well as something fun for our campus and for our students,” said Dirrigl. “The good thing about having a portable weather station is that it can be folded up, put away and taken to other field studies.”


UTPA Image
James Fullingim, environmental science major research student, and Dr. Frank Dirrigl, assitant profesor of environmental science, are pictured next to the new weather station located on top of the Science Building at UTPA. The weather station is used as a research tool for students, to record and gather the weather activity at the UTPA campus and in the Edinburg area.
Having a weather station on campus allows students to create a long-term record of different weather events based on the seasons and the regional area and data gathered can be used by students in the environmental science and public policy and environmental regulations and assessments classes in their preparation of permits and ecological assessments.

“This weather station allows us to have a central point for data collection and as a student gives me the experience of working with my professor in a one-on-one setting outside of the classroom,” said Fullingim.

The system currently in use to track the area’s weather is the Davis Vantage Pro2, a device the size of an iPad which features a screen that includes temperature, rainfall and wind speed readings.

Also provided are station graphs for weekly and monthly data and other weather forecast and information provided by the host site, www.weatherunderground.com.

“I think this weather station is a great research tool for our students but also a great way to promote the environmental science program and UTPA. At the same time students, and the public, can know that there is a weather station in town where they can check out the weather forecast,” said Dirrigl. “You find that there aren’t too many places specific to Edinburg.”

For more information, contact Dirrigl at (956) 665-8732 or visit www.weatherunderground.com.