Data collection is a rapidly evolving field. While there will never be a substitute for human observation, more and more ecological data are being collected via remote means. In the Great Lakes, this includes observing systems attached to buoys. Indeed, AWRI is pursuing such an instrument for Muskegon Lake; we will keep you updated on our progress.
In the meantime, we are proud to announce the installation of the AWRI weather station at the Lake Michigan Center (LMC). This station was constructed, installed, and tested during the late summer and fall of 2008. The installation consists of a rooftop weather instrument package and digital video camera, which are attached to an antenna mount at various positions to optimize performance. The device is connected to the LMC network, and both near real-time weather instrument readings (wind speed, wind direction, relative humidity, barometric pressure, air temperature and photo-synthetically active radiation) and streaming digital video of Muskegon Lake are relayed to a 46-inch LCD color monitor on the wall of the LMC lobby.
The data readings and live video images from Muskegon Lake will eventually be connected to the Great Lakes Observing System (a regional node of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS)), an initiative which is dedicated to providing wide internet access to real-time and historic data on the hydrology, biology, chemistry, geology and cultural resources of the Great Lakes, its interconnecting waterways and the St. Lawrence River (http://www.glos.us). In the near future, the weather station data (both near real-time and historic) and the streaming video feed will also be available through the Annis Water Resources Institute's Web site (http://www.gvsu.edu/wri). We are grateful to the efforts of Kurt Thompson at AWRI to make this weather station a reality.