By Dave Parish, Head of Scottish Lowland Research
Ironically on a day packed with weather – including sunny spells, sub-zero temperatures and heavy snow showers – we set up a new weather station today at the farm with colleagues from the James Hutton Institute. This is a redeployed station that JHI have kindly lent us and which is part of a local and national network of weather stations.
Some of these contribute to a nationwide database at the Met Office providing evidence of weather patterns and climate change. Others form part of the Environmental Change Network (ECN), which monitors a wide range of parameters at a variety of sites across the UK, and aims to identify environmental changes and to distinguish short-term fluctuations from long-term trends. More locally, the data will be used to detect weather patterns and examine how and when this is happening.
I was expecting the traditional Stevenson Screen (a white wooden box that would house some of the instruments) and was quite surprised to see the relatively sophisticated bit of kit, no doubt reflecting my advancing years…The station is completely self-sufficient with a solar panel charging a battery which powers the whole thing, and a transmitter that regularly sends all the data back to JHI on a mobile phone network.
For us, it means we can now keep an accurate record of climatic conditions on the farm, which we may then be able to relate to both long- and short-term patterns in biodiversity, such as wader breeding productivity and invertebrate abundance. The fact that we are also part of the network of stations is equally important as it reinforces our collaboration with JHI and helps establish GWSDF Auchnerran as a research station in the area.