Climate change is top of the list of environmental issues that our planet is facing. Over the past 50 years, the earth has warmed up considerably and, as a result, many areas of the world are experiencing weather changes.
One of the tools scientists use to monitor and record changes in weather patterns are climate stations. UBC’s own climate station, located at Totem Field, has been recording climate data since 1957. The station provides measurements of atmospheric variables such as temperature, humidity, wind, precipitation, snow, and radiation.
“The climate station allows us to look at weather changes at Totem Field over an extended period of time,” said LFS Professor Andy Black. “Keeping a record is important because it allows us to better understand the impact of CO2 emissions and deforestation on the atmosphere, and also helps us to predict future changes to the climate.”
Black has been involved with the campus climate station since the mid-1970s. Thanks to Black and his colleagues, the station has kept up with technological changes – instead of having to physically visit the station in order to read data, for example, the information is directly uploaded to a database.
The creation of the climate database was part of a UBC Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund grant Black and Andreas Christen (UBC Department of Geography), received a few years ago. The statistics date back to 1959 and is used by UBC researchers and students to monitor local weather, growth conditions, climate statistics and climate change on campus.
In order to collect the most accurate reading, climate stations need to be situated in a grassed area, away from urban buildings. A climate station is currently in the works for the UBC Farm, a natural place to put one, according to Black.
“The Farm often has school tours and it would be fantastic to be able to teach kids and other visitors about how we monitor our climate,” he said.