SoCal Heat Hub Links Science and Education with School Weather Station Project

Since fall of 2023, CCCIA team members and affiliates have been working as part of the SoCal Heat Hub to bring weather stations to schools in order to serve as both educational and research tools.

Back in June of 2023, CCCIA-affiliated researcher Dr. Sasha Gershunov and PhD student Alexander Weyant installed the first pilot weather station at the San Diego French American School (SDFAS), located at the top of Mount Soledad – an interesting location for meteorology, which previously lacked any weather stations. 7th grade students from SDFAS were engaged throughout the installation process as well as beforehand with a lesson led by Sasha and Alexander.

Following the installation at SDFAS, a second weather station and air quality monitor installation followed this April (the same day as the partial solar eclipse) at City Height Preparatory School, which serves a diverse student body representing over 17 countries and 28 languages. Once again, students participated in the weather station installation process and inspired our team with their enthusiasm and curiosity.

Alexander and Sasha install a weather station at City Heights Prep.

These state of the art stations are able to measure a range of meteorological variables, including temperature, wind direction, wind speed, wind gust, rainfall, humidity, atmospheric pressure, and solar/UV radiation. In addition to the data being beneficial to researchers, the stations provide an excellent and rare opportunity for students to engage directly with data that’s locally relevant to them, getting hands-on experience with meteorology, and providing teachers with a tool to support concepts in various STEM-related classes.

Over the lifespan of the SoCal Heat Hub, we hope to install several weather stations each year. We have plans to install our next station at the World Beat Cultural Center in June, which will be our first installation with community partners outside of schools. There, our weather station will be located in the soon-to-be planted native chaparral habitat. Following that, we are working on plans to install a weather station this summer at EarthLab Climate Action Park alongside our partners from UCSD’s Center on Global Justice and Groundwork San Diego. Two additional middle schools are also on the docket, and we hope to share more information on those weather station installations in the future.

The connections that have come out of the weather station installations so far have been invaluable. Following installation at City Heights Prep, the Heat Hub team along with the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes supported a field trip for City Heights Prep students to SIO campus, where they launched a weather balloon from the pier, spent time at the beach, and visited Birch Aquarium. Sasha is also working to develop lessons for SDFAS to go along with the weather station that the school now has at their disposal; which can in turn help inform broader Heat Hub curriculum planning efforts.

Sasha Gershunov and his son with the weather station installed at SDFAS.