February 14, 2008
Holly Springs location chosen for climate study
A climate station was erected recently in Marshall County to monitor long-term local climate trends.
The equipment to collect precipitation and temperature was installed at the Mississippi State University Experiment Station on Highway 7 North by engineers working for Oak Ridge Laboratory in Tennessee.
Mark Hall, with the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s project, and his crew have seen all or nearly all of the lower 48 states as they have built the stations that automatically collect data and send it by satellite to the National Climactic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. From there the data from all local stations is displayed on the center’s website.
The station is unique in that it collects precipitation and temperature readings every five minutes and sends the data to the satellite upstairs every hour.
The data, collected from 115 stations like the one in Holly Springs, may help scientists determine if climate patterns change over a 50-100 year period, Hall said.
Interestingly, the solar panel that powers the station is built by Sharpe in Memphis, Tenn.
Installing all the stations is taking seven or eight years, Hall said, with the ultimate goal of having 250 stations nationwide, funding permitting.
Other climate monitors may be added to the stations in time, he said, including measurement of solar radiation, wind speed, and ground and surface temperatures.
“I think we will get funding next year to monitor soil moisture and temperature and relative humidity,” Hall said.
Mississippi has another station at Newton. There are four stations in Alaska, two in Hawaii and one in Canada.
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