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Pilot Testing Stationary Monitors:
 Summers 2015-2016


A lot of the temperature information that we get as the general public is from monitors placed at weather stations, like those at the airport.

We placed sensors the surrounding areas where people might live or visit during the day. The community members identified places to put the monitors (see picture on the right).

We’re interested in looking at Birmingham and the more rural areas to see if there is a heat island effect.

iBUTTON Monitor

We used a sensor that is called an iBUTTON to measure temperature and humidity.  It measures it in the shade.

The sensor uses a watch battery to power it. If we measured directly in the sunlight, it would measure how hot the battery got, not the actual air temperature.

That’s why the numbers may seem lower than you expect since you would feel the temperature, sunlight, humidity, wind, all together. 

Also, people don’t often stay in direct sunlight for long periods of time.

Ben and the team install a monitor on a pavillion at a local park

A label lets passerby know the sensor is monitoring temperature and humidy 

Connor and the team check the monitor on the tree

The map on the right shows the locations of the Birmingham sensors. They are different colors with the colder ones being white while the darker pink and red are warmer.  

82.7 is the maximum average daily temperature
78.0 is the minimum average daily temperature


There are warmer temperatures in the more central location. This is along with what we would expect with the urban heat island effect.  This is probably affected by the surroundings—the ground cover and the trees.Things like concrete and asphalt from roads and buildings might absorb and retain more heat than dirt or trees.

Most of these locations were selected by our community partners because they’re areas people go to during the day.  They’re mostly parks or community centers that kids and families can enjoy.

This is an average of all the sensors in each area.   In Birmingham there were 23 sensors while in Wilcox County there were 11.

 We expect slight differences in temperature throughout the day.The greatest difference would be at night—the different cover surfaces (concrete and asphalt) absorbing and retaining some heat.  We see that in the blue in hours 0-5 and then again around 19-24

This is an example of the variation in temperature over the course of the summer (June through September) by week. 

If you'd like to find out more about our results or plans for upcoming studies, contact us.

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