Monday, August 31, 2015

Matanuska Farm weather station to be updated

Standing near the Matanuska Experiment Farm's weather station, from left, Angie Freeman Shephard, Beth Hall and Norm Harris hold a sign thanking the Matanuska Electric Association for its donation.

The weather station at the Matanuska Experiment Farm has collected National Weather Service data since 1917, providing the longest available weather record from a single location in Alaska.

The station will be modernized soon thanks to university grants and a donation from the Matanuska Electric Association. Currently, the weather station records the daily high and low temperatures and precipitation.

Farm Superintendent Angie Freeman Shephard said new system that will be installed this fall will allow the station to collect more information and incrementally.

“We’ll know every hour of the day what the temperature is,” she said.

It will also record new information, such as wind speed and direction, relative humidity, total solar radiation and soil moisture. The data will be uploaded to a website continuously.

Farmers, community members and researchers use the information. Shephard said the new system will make data available to a wider group of researchers studying climate variation, scientists from a variety of disciplines, and K-12 students, who will receive educational opportunities. 

The system should be available at the latest by next spring. The farm received grants of $2,000 from the UAF People’s Endowment and $5,000 from the Matanuska Electric Association’s charitable foundation, plus $6,000 as a UAF Instructional Equipment Award.  Contact Shephard for more information at or 907-746-9481.

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