New heights for Scottish weather station
Published On Wed 16 May 2018 by Dominic Younger
Real-time weather conditions on one of Scotland’s top nature reserves are now being monitored thanks to a new collaboration between the National Trust for Scotland and the University of Dundee.
Researchers from the University and staff from National Trust for Scotland’s Ben Lawers National Nature Reserve have installed an automatic weather station - that digitally collects information on temperature, wind speeds, solar radiation, snow melt and even soil temperature.
The Tarmachan ridge and Ben Lawers range are owned and managed by the National Trust for Scotland, and are home to an abundance of rare alpine flora.
Detailed monitoring of the rarest species has been carried out for over three decades, but accurate meteorological data will help the Trust and geo-scientists understand changes already affecting the vulnerable flora and fauna in the region.
The station was designed with help from Dr Andrew Black, a Senior Lecturer in Geography at the University of Dundee, who has previous experience of installing stations in Glen Feshie, the Scottish Borders and South-East Iceland. He said, “The new station will provide unprecedented data of the mountain and weather conditions freely for the first time.
“Because of the location of the mountain and the sensitivity of the flora to climate conditions, the new station is in a great spot to give us a firm scientific underpinning for future research on the ecology, meteorology and hydrology of this iconic mountain area.”
The new station was installed at 600 metres above Loch Tay by Dr Black’s team of students and National Trust for Scotland staff guided by the Trust’s local ecologist Dan Watson.
Dan said, “The Tarmachan ridge and the Ben Lawers range are significant for the mountain plants that grow there. Now the automatic weather station will help us collect invaluable information about the climatic condition which they face.
“As we continue to monitor the mountain flora we are beginning to see unfavourable declines in certain alpine flowers and this new station will help us figure out why and potentially help us preserve them for the benefit of not only the ecosystem but also future generations.”
The state of the art weather station was purchased thanks to generous donations from The National Trust for Scotland Foundation USA and the Angus Members’ Centre.
Those interested can view real-time data from the station here.
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