By Daniel Sullivan ‘22
Chaminade High School’s Science, Technology, and Research Center (STRC) opened in 2018. Three years later, it has just received a new addition.
Installed this past summer by Bro. Benjamin Knapp, S.M. ‘93, and Mr. Edward Zullo of the Chaminade Alumni Parent Association (CAPA), the CHS Weather Station allows students, parents, and alumni to access real-time weather information from Mineola.
Situated on the roof of the STRC and adjacent to the astronomy dome, the solar-powered machine relies on dozens of sensors to collect information in and around the Chaminade campus, and then distribute it as a forecast for all to see. The station exists as one of the many special pieces of equipment within the STRC that is intended to enhance the learning experience of a specific area of science—in this case, meteorology.
Installing a weather station has always been an aspiration for Bro. Ben, who has had a fascination with weather and its many variabilities since youth. The station got cut from the initial plans for the STRC, so this installation allowed Bro. Ben to finally add the finishing touch to a building that, according to him, always felt incomplete without it.
Unlike other features of the STRC, however, this one is not just open to students—all members of the Chaminade family will be able to access the information this station provides and use it to prepare themselves for the weather ahead. The data available includes temperature, humidity, precipitation, wind speed, barometric pressure, solar radiation, and the air quality of Jericho Turnpike.
In addition to providing up-to-date information, the station also provides daily highs and lows, hourly averages, all-time records, and upcoming conditions.
In order to ensure accuracy, the Chaminade Weather Station relies on a number of state-of-the-art methods to collect its data. The temperature, for instance, is measured using a bimetallic bar, an advanced type of thermometer that is proven to have far greater accuracy than a traditional liquid one.
By measuring the bending of two pieces of metal bonded together, the bimetallic bar ensures that the information provided in regards to temperature, humidity (both relative and dew point), heat index, and wind chill is as accurate as possible.
The station can also measure precipitation, which is collected in a small rain module bucket that automatically dumps itself out. Every two tips of the bucket are calculated as 0.01 inch of precipitation, and the overall number of tips in an hour is analyzed to measure the rate of rainfall (in inches per hour) as well as the daily, monthly, and yearly rainfall averages.
Elsewhere, special rotating wind cups are used to calculate the wind direction, speed, and gusts, as well as the highest speed and gusts over the past 24 hours. Another key feature is the two sensors that measure the intensity of the sunlight and the ultraviolet from it.
By tracking these numbers, the weather station is able to measure the solar radiation on the UV index in Watts per square meter and provide tips on how you should protect yourself from the sun while outdoors.
One of the most interesting features of the weather station is the multiple air quality monitors set up around the school property. These monitors use low-powered lasers to measure the amount of solid pollutants, such as exhaust, dust, and pollen, that are in the air.
By measuring the number of times the laser beam is broken, the system is able to measure the diameter of the particles in microns per minute and calculate the quality of the air in and around Chaminade.
The air quality monitors are set up on the STRC roof, Ott Field, Jericho Turnpike, and even within one of the classrooms, allowing for a thorough and accurate reading. This is especially interesting in regards to Jericho Turnpike, a road that supports thousands of drivers per day—each of whom release exhaust fumes as they drive along.
Being able to keep track of this allows Chaminade to make sure that measures are in place to keep all of its students healthy.
In addition to safeguarding student health, all of this information can be used in education. The senior Natural Science class will be the first to engage in a long-term weather monitoring project during the spring semester, and soon other science classes will follow.
As Bro. Ben explained, “Keeping track of the weather is helpful because it affects everything we do and how we go about our day. It’s one of the ways we can keep tabs on our natural environment around us instead of just being oblivious to it.”
The Chaminade Weather Station is shaping up to be a valuable resource for all interested in using it. If you would like to access this information and get your forecast from the Flyers, you simply need to do the following:
For students: click on the “CHS Weather Station” under the General Information module in the Hangar.
For parents and alumni: Download the free WeatherLink (Davis Instruments) app, create a free account, hit the “+” sign in the upper corner and search for “Chaminade STRC.”
While this is the latest installment in the Chaminade STRC, our forecasts indicate that bigger and better additions to the building may soon be on the horizon.