The first of its kind campus-based automated weather station has been launched at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), reports Pretoria North Rekord.
The accredited, world-class meteorological weather station is the first of its kind to be based at a university campus in the country. It was launched in partnership with the South African Weather Service and TUT’s Pretoria campus.
The station will primarily monitor local weather conditions, which will assist management to understand weather conditions for decision-making purposes, especially as an early warning of an imminent lightning storm system during sports events.
TUT vice-chancellor and principal Professor Lourens van Staden said the vibrant strategic partnership with the SAWS would help take the study field of climatology forward, and help with research while empowering students for the world of work.
“We need to design relevant curriculum programmes, and our aim is to go into research, create programmes at master and doctorate levels. Also to observe sustainable development goals, which [are] energy, water, and climatology. We want to be relevant in what we are doing and equip our students to be relevant when they leave the university, to be employable immediately, for instance, to be employed at the South African weather service,” said Van Staden.
Acting weather service chief executive Mnikeli Ndabambi said the weather stations were very important and played a vital role in collecting data on climate change.
“We want to be able to tell you what the weather will do. We are moving to impact-based severe weather warning system from mid-May,” said Ndabambi.
A downloadable SAWS mobile application “WeatherSmart” will provide hazardous weather warnings and alerts as well as site-specific forecasts to anyone on campus.
TUT’s spokesperson Willa de Ruyter said the partnership between the SAWS and TUT would link the classroom and industry.
“It will result in knowledge-sharing and create many other opportunities such as research, climate and technical services, as well as forecasting and training. It provides an opportunity for students to acquire specific skills, to contribute in the provision of weather-related services and to develop specific products for various sectors, industries and communities, as well as enhancing the preparedness of decision-makers,” she said.
TUT’s weather station would form part of the SAWS’s official network and play a valuable role in increasing the accuracy of forecasting locally and in the long run, on the continent.