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Conservancy Provides Weather Information for Wild Lands

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Catalina Island Conservancy

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AVALON, Calif. – Wondering about the latest weather on other parts of Catalina Island? The Catalina Island Conservancy has a map that reports weather conditions at various points on Catalina wildlands. It can be accessed at www.catalinagis.org/weather.

The website provides a weather map that relies on data from weather stations installed around the 42,000 acres of Catalina under the Conservancy’s stewardship. These weather stations were installed from 2006 through 2008 in partnership with Desert Research Institute, the research arm of the Nevada state higher education system, as part of the Institute’s mission to investigate the effects of natural and human-induced environmental change and to advance environmental technologies aimed at assessing a changing planet.

The small icons on the weather map on the website indicate the location of each weather station. Clicking on the weather station’s icon on the map will provide a graph of the last 24 hours of temperature, humidity, rainfall, wind speed and direction, and insolation (solar radiation) at that particular location.

The weather web map is the result of the Conservancy’s efforts this year to bring the eight existing weather stations into good working order and make the information available to the public. The Conservancy rehabilitated the weather stations earlier this year so that the Island now has functioning and properly calibrated stations.

The Conservancy also purchased the software needed to collect and store the data from the stations at Middle Ranch and on the Desert Research Institute’s website. The Institute continues to provide technical support and assistance, as well as public access to all of the data.

Relying on information from the weather stations, the online weather maps are updated automatically approximately every 10 minutes, depending on radio reception between the stations and Middle Ranch.  The stations are connected to a networked device in the Middle Ranch barn through a series of line-of-sight radio relays at each station and some intermediate relays.

The weather maps are one of several mapping operations the Conservancy conducts to help it assess conditions on the Island in fulfilling its mission of protecting and restoring Catalina.

By Ben Coleman
Ben Coleman is the Catalina Island Conservancy’s GIS program specialist and research coordinator. For more information, please visit CatalinaConservancy.org

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Catalina Island Conservancy

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Catalina Island Conservancy

The Catalina Island Conservancy was formed in 1972 and is one of California’s oldest land trusts. Its mission is to be a responsible steward of its lands through a balance of conservation, education and recreation. The Conservancy protects the magnificent natural and cultural heritage of Santa Catalina Island, stewarding approximately 42,000 acres of land, 62 miles of rugged shoreline and more than 80 miles of trails. It operates the Airport in the Sky, Wrigley Memorial & Botanic Garden and two nature centers. Twenty miles from the mainland, the Island is home to more than 60 plant and animal species found nowhere else in the world. - Watch Video

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