This spring, our students had the opportunity to set up two weather stations as part of an ecology lab and ongoing research project. Under the guidance of Dr. Jim Porter and head naturalist Arturo Cruz, they set up two stations to record weather data on the UGA Costa Rica campus. One sits in our medicinal garden in an open area that receives much sunlight. The other is just off the Camino Real Trail under the cover of the forest.
Dr. Porter expects higher relative humidity in the forest and higher solar radiation in the open garden area. However, how the forest environment effects temperature has yet to be seen. The forests environment heavily relies on high relative humidity.
“Most of the country of Costa Rica will be temperature stressed and most of the country will be water stressed,” Porter explains about climate change models that predict warming and drying in Costa Rica. “That’s really worrisome to us.”
Some past alumni and guests of our campus might wonder, “Isn’t there already a weather station on campus?” Yes, we have a full weather station that is part of the Georgia Automated Environmental Monitoring Network. It takes measurements on temperature, humidity, dew point, wind speed and direction, atmospheric pressure, and soil moisture, among other things.
Although information on the daily weather conditions can stand alone, it becomes even more useful when paired with other research. For example, our moth researcher Philip Barnette documents moths every day at 2:30 in the morning. These weather conditions could be very useful in the interpretation and analysis of the project’s data.