Weather Stations

Brad Peter from the Department of Geography, Environment, and Spatial Sciences at Michigan State University, alongside agricultural extension officers, constructing a weather station that will be used to monitor cropping conditions in Nsipe, Malawi.

Professor Joseph Messina and Graduate Student Brad Peter from GCFSI’s Population Growth, Climate Change and Pressure on the Land team visited Malawi to construct and install a set of weather stations on farmland in the central region of Malawi. A total of five weather stations have been installed at the Lilongwe University of Agricultural and Natural Resources (LUANAR), Linthipe, Golomoti, Nsipe, and Bwanje Valley Irrigation Scheme. Training on data collection and station operation was provided for technical staff and faculty at LUANAR. The weather stations are set to record data continuously at 15-minute intervals. The weather stations provide access to data on wind speed, wind direction, barometric pressure, temperature, relative humidity, dew point, precipitation, photosynthetically active radiation, and soil moisture. These on-farm growing season weather data allow us to link crop modeling with satellite imagery to monitor crop health and estimate yields. In addition to weather station construction, we visited 200 sites in 33 farming regions across the extent of Malawi in order to conduct a land cover assessment. Interviews were held with Extension Planning Area (EPA) officers and farmers for inquiry of crops grown, primary drivers of production, and land-use history. These initiatives are part of a concerted effort to link “big” data to the farm and scale agricultural improvement across geographies.

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