The University of Toronto Mississauga Meteorological Station (UTMMS) is an on-campus weather station operated by the Department of Geography, Geomatics and Environment for more than 30 years. The station houses a suite of sensors that record local meteorological and environmental data (for a full list of data, click here). The UTMMS was originally set up in response to the needs of geography undergraduates looking for weather data to analyze for course assignments. We have since made a number of upgrades to the weather station in order to make this data more accessible and open for use across campus and beyond. The station has been managed by Ken Turner since 1975 and is now overseen by the Geography Lab Technician.
Location and Uses
UTMMS is located in the field originally described in the records of the UTM property as a walnut orchard. Though a few of the walnut trees are still standing, the site is now mainly a quiet meadow surrounded by mature pine and oak trees. As in the past, the data collected and made available through the UTMMS website has been used this year by various courses in Geography, Biology and Forensics at UTM, as well as by the newly created Centre for Emerging Energy Technologies. In addition, we have welcomed classes from local schools who wish to see an operating weather station first hand. Also, we have fielded requests and enquiries through our website from as far away as Australia.
Additional campus monitoring sites
Three compact environmental monitoring stations were deployed across the UTM campus to monitor local environmental conditions. These measures include soil moisture and temperature, as well as, air temperature and humidity. These stations are continuously logging data in different environments including an old-growth pine forest, grassland and wetland. These data have also been utilized for undergraduate course labs here at UTM. The Environmental Datasets are available here.
The past few years have seen some major changes to the UTMMS site, the most significant being the upgrade of the network panel, giving direct internet connection to the weather station. We are experimentation with communication links to the station and investigating the feasibility of creating a real-time weather display through the UTMMS website. Another significant upgrade was the enlarging of the fenced compound in which our instruments are deployed. The enlarging of the compound will allow us to further develop the research area. This will allow increased opportunities for our students to conduct course experiments and get practical experience with a variety of instruments within a secure area. As an example, this past Fall, students in our Hydrology course used the compound to conduct tests on the infiltration capacities of different soil types.In addition to increasing the size of the compound, we have upgraded the tower on which our wind vane is located. The installation of a 15-metre tower, set on a stable concrete base, has enhanced our ability to develop better high-level wind speed datasets. It will also allow us to improve our incoming solar radiation data by allowing us to mount our solarimeter at an elevation where it can clearly see the open sky without the interference of shadows and obstructions. The new concrete base and guy wire system have improved the level of safety for those who need to work on the tower.
A final achievement for UTMMS this year was the successful transfer of digital data records over to the new electronic archive known as ‘T-Space.’ T-Space will ensure that UTMMS data will be available and accessible online and free for generations to come. As part of the ongoing effort to ensure the safekeeping of all UTMMS data, the older thermohygrograph charts, going back to 1975, will be scanned and then added to the T-Space archive.
UTMMS continues to provide a useful source of meteorological data to the UTM community and to those in the local community and beyond.
Contact us if you are interested in our stations.