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A new weather station on the roof of the Fresno City College Science Building is feeding real time weather information to students and staff.
With the help of a grant from Chevron, the Math, Science and Engineering division has installed the weather station. MS&E scientists are now reporting data to the National Weather Service which, along with other data points in the region, allows for a weather report and prediction to be synthesized.
“You can never have too much weather data,” said geography instructor Sean Boyd who teaches a class in weather and climate. “There’s no such thing.”
Boyd, a former television weathercaster who now teaches full time at FCC, pushed for the weather station last fall when the division received the $50,000 Chevron grant. He says division Dean Shirley McManus polled the different departments on how the money could best be used and the weather station was one of the projects funded.
A large monitor is mounted in the third story hallway of the Science Building and Boyd sees students watching it for weather information. Every 15 minutes, the weather station provides updated weather conditions that appear on the screen.
“This enables them to see that what they’re learning in their textbooks isn’t a bunch of boring dry ink,” Boyd says. “It makes it tangible for them. They can see the weather happening live as they walk past their classes.”
David Balogh, chair of the Earth and Physical Science and Engineering Department, also enjoys that students are able to see data so clearly on a daily basis.
“Our meteorology and climate students who are taking these geography classes have the ability to get data directly from our campus. It teaches them how to collect data and then how to manipulate that data,” he said.
Balogh, Boyd, and Kris Mattarochia, Science and Operations Officer with the National Weather Service in Hanford, worked together to get FCC’s station to communicate with other data points in the area, including one at the Fresno Air Terminal. There are other data points in the Fresno-Clovis metro area, which serve as verification points for National Weather Service forecasts.