Energy & Power
NAIT Alternative Energy Tech program knows weather
By Anthony Capkun
March 9, 2015 – The students of NAIT’s Alternative Energy Technology program now have access to up-to-the-minute, local weather conditions thanks to the institution’s new weather website, which enables them to calibrate and monitor equipment based on specific, local information, available on their smartphones.
“NAIT has its own microclimate. Data we were previously gleaning from more traditional weather stations wasn’t giving us a look at what was happening right here at NAIT. We needed to bring it closer to home,” said Tim Matthews (photo), technologist with the Alternative program.
The website project was more than two years in the making; data comes from three meteorological stations at Northern Alberta Institute of Technology’s Main Campus. The equipment and online portal are maintained and used by the Alternative Energy Technology program to teach students about sustainable and renewable energy.
Three meteorological stations at NAIT’s Main Campus collect a variety of real-time data from locations on the roofs Buildings X, D and C, which includes temperature, dew point, humidex, pressure, solar intensity, humidity and precipitation, and wind chill, speed and direction. The meteorological suites include a barometer and precipitation gauge, as well as anemometers, pyranometers, data loggers and more. The website automatically updates every five minutes.
While the primary intention of the website is to be a learning tool, anyone with an internet connection and web browser can access it. Up-to-the-minute weather information is presented in simple tables and graphs. (The weather data is also used by other NAIT programs. It does not include weather forecasting.)
Photo courtesy NAIT