New network of weather stations in Sheffield

OTT HydroMet is installing fifteen automatic weather stations as part of the University of Sheffield’s Urban Flows Observatory, which is led by the Departments of Civil and Structural Engineering, and Automatic Control and Systems Engineering (ACSE). The monitoring sites are conveniently located at Sheffield schools, and data from the stations will contribute to the project’s wider environmental monitoring objectives which include the free publication of data.

Like most cities, Sheffield faces challenges connected with air quality, carbon emissions, traffic congestion and a changing climate. The Urban Flows Observatory is therefore working to better understand energy use across the city by combining a variety of environmental and atmospheric data sources to create a dynamic model of the flows of energy and resources in the city. Naturally, weather conditions play an important role in this, so OTT Hydromet was commissioned to build a meteorological monitoring network.

Each weather station will include a Lufft WS700 low-maintenance, low-power instrument for measuring wind speed and direction, temperature, precipitation amount and intensity, relative humidity, barometric pressure, and solar radiation. Each station also includes a low cost carbon dioxide sensor as well as a battery powered OTT netDL 1000 data logger, which transmits real-time data to a centralised platform.

Steve Jubb is the Chief Technical Officer for the Urban Flows Observatory at the University of Sheffield. He is responsible for delivering the platform of systems that will enable the observatory to gather, process and present the data streams needed by the observatory and associated research projects. He says: “Meteorological data is critically important if we are to better understand the factors affecting air quality for example. However, localised weather data will be important in its own right; helping us to monitor trends, compare locations with and without green space, and to investigate potential urban heat island effects.”

The location of the weather stations at selected schools has ensured a good spread of monitoring locations across the city and will hopefully encourage pupils to access the data. This highlights another key feature of the project which is to engage citizens in the gathering and understanding of environmental data.

The Urban Flows Observatory is part of a wider network of UK Urban Observatories, a collaborative venture led by the Universities of Newcastle, Bristol and Sheffield, and part of UKCRIC (UK Collaboratorium for Research in Infrastructure and Cities), which is working to address issues of infrastructure development.

The installation of the weather stations will be completed during the October half-term and Steve hopes to have the data publically available by the end of the year.