A few weeks ago Fynbos was approached by Rodger Duffet of UCT’s CSAG (Climate System Analysis Group) to put up a weather station on Dragonridge. He came with a colleague last week and has sent us these pics and this account of the station.
The rocky outcrop of the Paardeberg rises above the surrounding flatlands of the Swartland making it an ideal location to capture local weather patterns. Fynbos Estate kindly granted access to us for an installation of a weather station that will be of use to all in the area and provide ongoing input to the long term climate record. The station is the latest addition to the network of stations funded through the Fynbos Fire Project [fynbosfire.org.za] by the Global Environment Fund. The project seeks to improve the risk assessment and management of fire in the Fynbos Biome and to address questions of interest in the area regarding fire and climate in the longer term.
The stations measures temperature, pressure, solar radiation, wind speed and direction and humidity and sends this information to a server every 5 minutes.
From there it is accessed by the CSIR [Council for Scientific and Industrial Research] for use in the Advanced Fire Information System. This system is just one of the background tools that inform and assist the Fire Prevention Associations around the Fynbos region in the difficult job of fire management.
The Paardeberg is a beautiful and unique area close to Cape Town. After braving early morning traffic on the way out of town we were happy to be ascending the rocky track up the mountain. Half way up we met teams from the Paardeberg Sustainability Institute working on alien clearing and fire break management.
Sadly, at the top, we met the local wifi installer replacing stolen solar panels after yet another theft. We can only hope that our little panel will not attract interest!
We do know that the baboons will be very curious about the station so festooned it with razor wire in the hopes that this will keep them from adjusting things to their satisfaction! After doing this we headed back down to the Estate to catch up with Gail and Diana and collect a couple of bottles of the special wine available there!
The station is happily sending data through to our servers and should you be planning a trip out to the Swartland you can see what you are heading to on www.wmon.co.za. Hopefully this data will also find it's way into Johan's toolkit as he works his magic in the cellars. It will certainly be part of the work in the region trying to improve how we interact with our fragile environment!
The stations are installed and maintained by Intermet Africa [www.diel.co.za] and the Climate Systems Analysis Group [www.csag.uct.ac.za] at the University of Cape Town.