Press Release

PRESS RELEASE/EARTH DAY RIBBON CUTTING
FOR USU’S NEW ENVIRONMENTAL OBSERVATORY

April 18, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Writer: Skyler Di Stefano, 435-797-7406
Contact: Bruce Bugbee, bruce.bugbee@usu.edu
HIGH-TECH SCULPTURE ON CAMPUS TRACKS THE ENVIRONMENT

Logan — Utah State University’s sophisticated solar-powered environmental monitoring observatory is the first of its kind on a university campus and provides a model for self-powered observatories in remote locations. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will mark the official opening on Earth Day, April 22, at 1 p.m. in front of the E.G. Peterson Agricultural Science Building on the USU campus. All are invited to attend.

Designed and built by students and faculty in the department of Plants, Soils, and Climate, the 13’ tall observatory already has admirers. “We are honored to have had the opportunity to assemble instruments into an environmental sculpture that has become a technological centerpiece on campus,” says Bruce Bugbee, the faculty member who coordinated the project.  

This cutting-edge observatory measures all standard weather conditions, five components of solar radiation, carbon dioxide in the air, and seven conditions underground. A state-of-the-art atmospheric visibility sensor measures the clarity of the air in Cache Valley, a unique feature of particular interest to local residents. All of the data are graphically displayed on a dedicated website at weather.usu.edu.

This observatory continues a tradition of weather measurement at USU that began with the historic campus weather station, built in 1893.  Campbell Scientific, a local company that designs and manufactures measurement and control instrumentation, generously provided much of the technology necessary to make these measurements.

“The new Environmental Observatory is a wonderful addition to the University’s campus, providing people from all walks of life a glimpse of the technology and computations behind weather and climate predictions,” said Noelle Cockett, Dean of the College of Agriculture. “I appreciate the efforts of those who have made this observatory a reality.” 

Speakers at the ceremony include Kevin Werner from the National Weather Service, Paul Campbell from Campbell Scientific, Jay Monson from the Logan City council, and Rob Gillies, Director of the Utah Climate Center.

For more information about the environmental observatory visit weather.usu.edu.