During our trip north in April, we installed another Campbell Scientific met station (automated weather station) to replace the one that has been at the McGill Arctic Research Station (M.A.R.S.) since 1992.
The new station sports all new sensors and the latest datalogger from Campbell, the CR1000 as well as their enclosed digital camera (CC640).
We have also installed an Iridium satellite modem that provides a communication link to the station. Now we can download the data whenever we choose just by calling up the station.
The camera is set to take two images a day - one in the morning and another in the afternoon. The images are all stored on a SanDisc industrial grade 256mb memory card but we can also download up to four every two days using the onboard memory of the CR1000. If needed, we can command the station to take an image, and then download the picture afterwards.
As seen in the image, Claude Labine is using a small, ultra-rugged field computer made by Juniper Systems, Inc. This neat little computer called Archer is waterproof, shockproof, and is rated for use in temperatures as low as -30C. For field work this is ideal.
Being able to carry a computer that is just a bit bigger than my Garmin GPS eTrex in a backpack, and not having to worry too much about power in cold weather is great - now if only Apple would squeeze down a Mac like this.....
The new met station gives us the ability to check the conditions at our site prior to sending in a flight. If no one is there to provide a weather synopsis, we can view the met data and also look at the camera image. Its pointed towards the end of our airstrip and there are mountains in the background that provide us with minimum visibility and cloud height information. Its pretty cool to be able to do this.
Now we can get data year round and check the weather before we go!
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