Weather vanes and rain moths – our new weather station

Greg loves Walker Swamp, and swamps love water. Greg wanted to know if it was raining at the swamp, but there were no weather stations nearby. Greg has solved that problem, but it took a few hours, and help from Lachie, to make it happen.

The new weather station came safely boxed and bagged with all the nuts, bolts, cords and cable ties. All the scientists had to do was follow the instructions.

Greg and Lachie considering their next step

Perhaps surprisingly, this wasn’t too hard. Or maybe Greg and Lachie have one of those special working relationships that would make even a Swedish flat pack furniture assembly easy. The tripod went up on day 1, then all the electricals were put together on day 2. In the meantime Greg had set up the computer system so that when the solar power and battery were connected the system actually started recording straight away!

Greg at work in the field

There were a few more hours putting the assembled top on the tripod, aligning all the gadgets to the sun and weather direction as necessary, then guying the whole apparatus so it was stable and level. The device records temperature, wind speed, gust speed, wind direction, rainfall, relative humidity, solar radiation and dew point. You can even see if the battery is charged up.

Almost there, assembling the tripod

Only a hundred metres away, another weather indicator was in abundance. Hundreds of Large Rain Moths (Trictena sp.) had recently emerged from their underground lives, leaving behind brightly coloured pupal cases. The moths emerge just before rain, and the new weather station proved them right with a few millimetres of rain falling during the assembly.

Large rain moth

The station will provide important data to feed into modelling and reporting for Walker Swamp. It is also fascinating to see the results come in. We’ve had our first frost, and are looking forward to the first big rainstorm. Check out the site.

Solar radiation, temperature and rainfall readings from the first few days. The initial readings were affected by the installation, but from Day 2 are great.


The final product, fenced to keep it safe.

Jodie Honan