Challenges of doing research on the UPRM Campus


Recently I initiated a calibration study of two Campbell Scientific weather stations on the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez Campus. Calibration of the two stations equipped with older sensors, is being accomplished with a third station with new sensors.

Two weeks ago I took the following photographs which illustrate how the maintenance crew of the university aggressively trim the grass around any and every standing thing, including my research equipment. Their practice is to trim the grass down to the bear soil, and over time cut into the soil itself, thus creating a depression around the trees, telephone poles, sidewalks, etc.  Why do the workers do this?  I guess the reason is because it makes the area look cleaner and also gives them more time before they have to return to trim again.  The down side of this practice is that the soil is exposed to the intense rainfalls, common in Mayaguez, which may lead to soil erosion.

Here are two photos showing excessive trimming around my research equipment. The sensors are sensitive to the ground cover, especially the net radiation sensor.  Consequently the alteration of the site by trimming may compromise the integrity of the data collected by the instruments.  The preferred situation is green grass that is 3 or 4 inches tall.

IMG_5648Figure 1. Excessive trimming around the research equipment.  To prevent further trimming within the area, the red construction tape was put up around the perimeter.

 

IMG_5651Figure 2. Excessive trimming of grass is observable under the center net radiation sensor.

 

Here are some random pictures showing excessive trimming on the UPRM campus.

IMG_5693

 

IMG_5692

IMG_5689

IMG_5688

IMG_5695

IMG_5691This is a groundwater observation well.  Notice that after it rains the depression fills with water.  This water will result in excessive infiltration around the well, possible altering the measured aquifer water level and the water quality.

IMG_5690
When I informed a couple of the worker about my concern, they agreed not to trim inside the perimeter of the area.  But to fulfill their mission, they came back with some type of chemical (Roundup?) and sprayed everything within the perimeter!!!!!!!!  OMG!!!!  Please stop trying to help me!  The two pictures below clearly show the grass dying within the area of the research equipment.  It is possible that within a week there will only be brown dirt within the area, I hope not.

 

IMG_5775

IMG_5774

UPDATE: Here is three days after the above pictures were taken.
IMG_5783
IMG_5784

On October 28, after the weather station equipment had been removed, here is what the grass looks like.

IMG_5849

How hot does it get inside your car?


Recently I said to someone

“I believe the scientific basis of global warming is very simple: if you put more heat (energy) into something than comes out, the temperature will go up. A commonly shared experience we can all relate to is getting into your car on a 90-degree day only to find that the inside temperature is around 120-degrees, due to the trapped heat.”

I wanted to check my statement about the 120 degree Fahrenheit (48.9 degree C) temperature inside the car to see if it was true.  I used a small automated weather station to get the inside and outside air temperatures and an infrared thermometer to measure surface temperatures.  Here is what I found (in degrees C):

12:15 PM, Location Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, Sept. 22, 2014, 2001 Honda Accord, Black.

Air temperature outside 31.6 C

Air temperature inside car 49.1 C (My statement was very close!)

Surface temperatures inside car: Dashboard 88.9 C (192 F  !!!!), driver seat 50C, front floor 39 C, Radio 51.6 C, steering wheel 53 C, trunk floor 56.9 C.

Pavement outside of car 52.1

Grass area near car 33.9

My office chair 17.7 C.  🙂

IMG_5675

GOES-PRWEB results questionable until NEXRAD is back online


I received an email from Ernesto Rodriguez of the National Weather Service in San Juan this morning, regarding the rainfall data from NOAA’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service (AHPS).  GOES-PRWEB uses the AHPS, so until NEXRAD is back online, the GOES-PRWEB results will be questionable.

Eric

Here is the email from Ernesto:

AHPS data is questionable without the NEXRAD. Until the NEXRAD returns, the AHPS analysis will be created using the Terminal Doppler Radar(TWDR) at Punta Salinas(Toa Baja) and rain gauges(from USGS).
Please, remember that the TDWR is not very useful to detect showers over the southern half of Puerto Rico and the extreme west of Puerto Rico.
Regards,
–Ernesto Rodriguez