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This ain't yo mamma's AcuRite

Updated: Apr 12, 2022

Originally posted by Jim K2BHM

During my 15 years of work at SUNY Albany, among all the other projects I got to play with, my favorite was working with ASRC (Atmospheric Science Research Center). I made them a 24 foot Mini Maritime Mobil Weather Station. They would take it around the state measuring and recording dozens of air and water parameters adding a time and GPS stamp to every data frame.

This is the heart of the system. All custom design and fabrication by me. The top section is the Campbell Scientific Data Acquisition Computer. The middle unit is the Gas Analyzer unit.

This bottom unit is custom to route and regulate the gasses to be analyzed.

About the only similarity with our AcuRites is the bubble level on top. The whirly gig and tail feathers we use to measure wind direction and velocity just wouldn't cut it. Here they use 3 ultrasonic transmitters and 3 receivers in a pitch - catch configuration. The electronics measures and analyzes the Doppler Shift of the 3 signals and generates 3 signals of data. An Orthogonal output, wind speed in the X, Y and Z axis!

Now, we tie that in with a filtered air sample inlet, a thermometer probe, and a flight path turbidity unit.

This is my design for an Equillibrator. Water is feed into the pipe on top. It comes out the nozzles as an atomized spray. The water accumulates in the cylinder. At a certain level, the blue float rises, opening up drain ports to keep a constant water level. The grey fittings on the top are for tubes to circulate gasses escaping from the water to the gas analyzer.

On to bigger and better... We mount our equipment to the tower on the bow of an ocean going research vessel. After numerous trips around the state in the pontoon boat, they now set off for campaigns to the Caribbean, The North Sea, and the Southern tip of Chile to Seattle. With a TON of data, there is just one final destination. Antarctica!!!!

So, here is the plan: Antarctica, even in the summer, is a very hostile environment! So, the closest we can get to these conditions for testing is SUNY's weather station on top of Whiteface, mid winter!

This is nothing compared to the Rhime Ice buildups we expect on the cruise. We are going to test various heat tapes, including special insulated and heated tubings.

The Weather station's outer wrap around balcony.

Control central! (The roof leak can't be addressed until late spring!)

Snowmobiles are the only way to get to some of the equipment. If your drive belt starts slipping, STOP! If you don't stop, IT WILL STOP EVENTUALLY!!! This is what is left of their sled when a contractor borrowed it and didn't stop. It took hours to cool off from the fire, in spite of the cold!

No slipping drive belts here!

Somebody caught the photographer.

The guys for the Whiteface trip. The person in the center is a researcher visiting from Ireland, Dr. Brian Ward. The person in the dark jacket is Dr. Scott Miller. He is project leader, all around good guy, and a friend!

A lot more info on Scott's project can be found here. Lots of pictures, charts and technical data.



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