Weather Networks NYC

A project created for Shifting Communities: SP Weather Station; Laura Napier; Christy Speakman at the Bronx River Art Center / BRAC on the block @ Bronx Art Space, 305 E 140th St #1A Bronx, NY. October 21 – November 19, 2011

A map with photographs and texts documenting SPWS’s ongoing research into the diverse groups (from government-funded research initiatives to citizen observers) involved with monitoring the weather and environmental conditions of New York City’s ecosystem.

List of projects surveyed:

Many thanks to the following with their assistance: Dr. Alan Blumberg, The Center for Marine Systems, Stevens Institute of Technology; Dave Conover, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Inc.; Dr. Holger M. Eisl, Center for the Biology of Natural Systems (CBNS), Queens College, CUNY; Dr. Stuart Gaffin and Angelica Pasqualini, Center for Climate Systems Research, Earth Institute, Columbia University; Sarah Johnson, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene; Kristen King, NYC Department of Parks & Recreation; Dr. Daniel C. Robie, York College, CUNY; and others.


Bronx Community College / CUNY
Dr. Neal Phillip, Professor and Chair,
Dept of Chemistry & Chemical Technology
Installed in 2002, Bronx Community College’s Weather Station produces real time weather data for the College Community. The instruments are in the process of being upgraded from a Texas Instruments Station to a Davis Vantage Pro Plus and the college will be installing a Picarro Model Greenhouse Gas monitor as well. Station data in archived on the BCC station’s website.


Center for Biology of Natural Systems (CBNS)
Dr. Holger M. Eisl, Research Associate Professor
Queens College CUNY
CBNS was established in 1966 by Barry Commoner at Washington University St. Louis and came to Queens College in 1981; it is known for its pioneering studies to devise and assess alternative solutions and its assistance to government agencies and community organizations. Since moving to Queens, CBNS has focused on urban environmental problems, and increasingly on environmental health. One of its major projects, initiated in response to PlaNYC in partnership with the NYC Department of Health, is NYCCAS (the New York City Community Air Survey), in which CBNS develops and deploys instruments that monitor air pollution on the street level throughout NYC.


Center for Climate Systems Research, Green Roofs Study
Earth Institute, Columbia University
Stuart Gaffin, Research Scientist
Part of the Climate Impacts group at CCSR, led Dr. Stuart Gaffin and supervised by Dr. Cynthia Rosenzweig at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, the green roof research project currently monitors about ten green roofs in NYC area and a white roof on MoMA Queens. These sites include: the extensive green roof on the ConEd Training Center, Long Island City; a semi-intensive green roof at the Queens Botanical Garden; the Jackie Robinson Recreation Center, Harlem; the Ethical Culture Fieldston School in the Bronx; Regis High School, Manhattan; and Columbia University. Inspired by earlier projects which used National Weather Service and private weather station data to model the urban heat island effect, and supported by owners of individual ‘green’ buildings, Gaffin uses in-situ monitoring equipment to observe the effects of green infrastructure projects on the heat island, through surface energy / water balance, stormwater absorption, and biodiversity impacts.

“It’s becoming increasingly evident that urban climate is a very “hot” topic right now and it seems like it’s just going to get more and more important over time. It’s actually a very old science, arguably among the first observations about man-made climate alteration deal with urban climate, from about 1820—it predates global warming theory.
–Dr. Stuart Gaffin, Center for Climate Systems Research, Earth Institute, Columbia University

“The urban heat island is undergoing a renaissance of interest, for many reasons … it’s no longer viewed as a curiosity, or as a benign effect, due to the unfolding era of climate change.… And the number of people dwelling in urban areas is now more than half of humanity. There is new motivation to understanding urban climate, the urban heat island, and other related problems—precipitation, storm, sea levels—they’re refocusing and almost galvanizing interest. So I think it’s a really interesting time to be working on urban climate.”
–Dr. Stuart Gaffin, Center for Climate Systems Research, Earth Institute, Columbia University

Department of Environmental Conservation Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Program, Queens College, CUNY
Michael Christoffersen
As a whole New York has one of the most comprehensive and robust ambient air monitoring programs in the nation. Its network of permanent sites provides continuous air quality monitoring over time, in contrast to NYCCAS, which compare air quality geographically/by neighborhood (by sampling at 15 minute increments, creating a cumulative measurement from many temporary sites). The Queens College DEC site is one of 3 large-scale monitoring sites in NY State, and part of the Environmental Protection Agency’s new NCore Multipollutant Monitoring Network. It is also one of 5 control sites where NYCCAS keeps instruments side-by-side with DEC instruments, in order to monitor the quality of their own data.

Hello Weather! Eyebeam Station installed by Andrea Polli
Eyebeam Art + Technology Center
540 West 21st Street, Manhattan
Field observation of personal weather station on roof of non-profit art space for art and technology, installed by artist Andrea Polli as part of the “Hello Weather” project. Hello Weather is a Personal Weather Station which uploads to Anything Weather and CWOP networks.

Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) Buoys
Officially launched by NOAA in 2007, the IOOS Program’s mission is to “lead the integration of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes observing capabilities, in collaboration with Federal and non-Federal partners, to maximize access to data and generation of information products, inform decision making, and promote economic, environmental, and social benefits to our nation and the world.” The IOOS is a grantmaking program which divides U.S. waters into 11 regions. The New York Bight is part of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Association Coastal Ocean Observing System; IOOS data is used by The Stevens Institute’s The New York Harbor Observing and Prediction System, the Hudson River Environmental Conditions Observing System (HRECOS) and many others.

NWS / NOAA Weather Station, Belvedere Castle, Central Park
Field observation of NOAA / NWS weather station in Central Park.

NWS / NOAA Weather Stations, JFK and LaGuardia Airports
Along with Belvedere Castle, Central Park, the airport weather stations provide the National Weather Service with point data for forecasts in the NYC area.

New York City Community Air Survey
Sarah Johnson, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH)
125 Worth Street, New York, NY
Initiated by PlaNYC, Mayor Bloomberg’s sustainability plan released in 2007, New York City Community Air Survey (NYCCAS) is a collaboration between the Health Department and the Center for the Biology of Natural Systems (CBNS) at Queens College CUNY, which aims to evaluate how air quality differs across New York City. It studies how pollutants from traffic, buildings, and other sources impact air quality in different neighborhoods and monitors pollutants that cause health problems. NYCCAS air pollution measurements are taken at about 150 locations throughout New York City in each season.

“NYCCAS is a unique project in that it adapts research methods to the monitoring of air pollution at a level of detail and over a much longer time period than the typical study with the results being used to inform public health policy. That’s what makes it really exciting, seeing the development of policies that will improve the air that New Yorkers breathe.”
–Sarah Johnson, NYC Department of Health

“When my husband and I used to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge every morning—you know you can really tell the air quality by the level of haze that you see over New Jersey every morning—I used to joke that we should add that to the NYCCAS study—something like “Sarah’s visual air quality index.”
–Sarah Johnson, NYC Department of Health

New York Harbor Observing and Prediction System
Dr. Alan Blumberg, Director, Center for Marine Systems
Stevens Institute of Technology
Davidson Lab, 711 Hudson Street, Hoboken NJ
The New York Harbor Observing and Prediction System (NYHOPS), provides real-time assessment of ocean, weather, environmental, and vessel traffic conditions throughout the NY Harbor and NJ Coast regions. Created by the Stevens Institute and based on the Princeton Oceanographic Model developed by Blumberg, NYHOPS incorporates data from over 200 sensors monitoring water conditions in the NY/NJ coastal region. Data & model forecasts are disseminated to the public via the Internet.

“We study the environment in three ways: We look at it in terms of how do you design a ship and make it work in a harbor—naval architecture/naval engineering. Number two, we study the environment by making instruments, deploying them in the water and the air, and bringing back measurements in real time …. So if something happens, a disaster—an airplane crashed in the river, people say, “which way’s the water moving?” Go to our website—we know which way the water’s moving. And number three is security. How do you protect a ship that comes into New York Harbor, from terrorists for example?”
–Dr. Alan Blumberg, Director, Center for Marine Systems, Stevens Institute of Technology


New York City Department of Parks and Recreation
Jacqueline Lu, Director of Research
Interviewed: Kristen King, Research Forester
The research arm of the NYC Parks Department works closely with partners to quantify & measure the urban forest, assessing its impact on human life. While participating in the large-scale NYCCAS Study with the Department of Health and CBNS, they have a multifaceted research program, in partnership with the US Forest Service, the NYC Urban Field Station. The NYCCAS air quality research led directly to a cohort study led by Andrew Rundle at Columbia University, studying the long term impact of trees on human health, specifically in upper Manhattan and the South Bronx.

“The more data points we have, the more we can say about a city-wide picture; this idea of an urban heat island is really gaining traction and it’s important to measure on a citywide level. With climate change, it’s important to understand how much worse it is here.… What has come to light with the cohort study is that it’s really important to bring as many people in as possible because everyone can bring something different to the table—a network of people, not just a single research project.”
–Kristen King, Research Forester, New York City Department of Parks and Recreation

Optical Remote Sensing Laboratory of The City College of New York
Dr. Mark Arend, NOAA CREST Research Professor
NYCMetNet provides the latest meteorological observations in and around The New York metropolitan area. Observations are updated every 15 minutes to better characterize meteorological conditions within the urban environment. Surface observations consist, in part, of near real-time atmospheric pressure, relative humidity, temperature, wind direction, wind speed, rain rate, and total rain accumulation measurements at building-top sites. Upper air measurements from SODAR and radar wind profilers consist of wind speed and direction at various altitudes in near real-time. NYCMetNet enables various research programs geared toward improving operational surveillance and warning systems for weather prediction and forecasting and helps researchers better understand projected climate change risks.

“Many organizations these days are trying to create a “smart city,” including us and many urban academic institutions. They are all trying to craft some version of ‘let’s integrate our information together.’”
–Dr. Mark Arend, NOAA CREST Research Professor, Optical Remote Sensing Laboratory of The City College of New York

“You have to really step back, as a philosopher, and look at the issues of representativeness and truth. Also, how much money and human resources are you going to use and what do you risk by limiting your resources are important considerations? If it was possible for the all-knowing computer model to provide us with an infinite amount of information about the environment—with every single variable you might want to know, then you would not need to make any observation of the environment, assuming you had 100% confidence that this information represented truth. Now, can we have that? It’s clearly unrealistic. Can we characterize the uncertainties in our limited models by making observations and can we characterize the uncertainties in our limited observations by developing models? Are we satisfied when we repeat these tests? That gets at the kernel of the whole problem.”
–Dr. Mark Arend, NOAA CREST Research Professor, Optical Remote Sensing Laboratory of The City College of New York

Personal Weather Station
Bradley Feldman
Park Slope, Brooklyn
Bradley has been recording Park Slope weather since moving to New York from Seattle in 2005 and posting it on his personal website, which receives in the range of 1200-1400 hits per day. His station has been featured in The New York Times, the Brooklyn Paper, and several local blogs.

Personal Weather Station
Dan Robie
East Flatbush, Brooklyn, NY
Dan Robie has operated a Personal Weather Station from his current home since January 2005, and has taken weather data in Brooklyn almost continuously for 12 years. He uses a Davis Weather Monitor II Station and uploads data to weather networks, including Weather Underground. He is also Assistant Professor of Chemistry at York College, CUNY.

“I’m an experimental physical scientist. So I like instruments … atmospheric stuff is one of the main applications of my scientific work, which is on gas-phase chemistry. One reason I went to graduate school in chemistry is because of stuff about the ozone layer; that problem came out when I was at Reed in the early 70s … it was originally a problem of homogeneous gas-phase kinetics, banning of aerosols. … Right after I finished my PhD was when the ozone hole was discovered. … We went over to this seminar at Stanford, and they showed the graphs those famous TOMS-spectral plots over the Antarctic, and they put them together into a time-sequence, and WHOA, was that creepy, I never forgot that. It was like a cancer growing over the South Pole. So that revived my childhood interest in weather.”
–Dan Robie, Amateur weather monitor and Assistant Professor of Chemistry, York College



Sloop Clearwater
Mobile Station for Hudson River Environmental Conditions Observing System (HRECOS)
Dave Conover, Clearwater Director of Education
The sloop Clearwater was launched in 1969 by folk musician and environmental activist Pete Seeger, to raise awareness of pollution in the Hudson River. Along with its environmental education, activism and music programs, the Clearwater has served since 2009 as a mobile station for HRECOS, a network of real-time monitoring stations on the Hudson River Estuary. The stations are geographically distributed from Schodack Island to the New York/New Jersey harbor, monitoring river conditions every 15 min. HRECOS is operated by a consortium of many governmental / research partners.


P.S. 175 City Island
200 City Island Avenue, Bronx, NY
Field observations by SP Weather Station and UK-based collective Reactor of weather station on school rooftop and apparent wind anemometers on nearby sailboats.

RFK Bridge (formerly Triborough)

Field observation of weather station on RFK Bridge.


Personal Weather Station
Thomas Stavola
Colts Neck, NJ
Thomas has operated a personal weather station for 4 years. He uploads data via Weather Underground and began taking data to compare his backyard conditions to the surrounding area.

P.S. 17 Henry David Thoreau School
28-37 29th Street, Long Island City, Queens
Field observation of weather station on school rooftop.


SP Weather Station HQ
Flux Factory
39-31 29th Street, Long Island City, Queens
Co-founded by artists Natalie Campbell and Heidi Neilson in 2007, SP Weather Station is an interdisciplinary project that collects weather data, hosts a Guest Lecture Series, and organizes weather-related publications, events, and exhibitions. As an informal umbrella organization, SPWS invites participation from many other artists, groups, and weather enthusiasts, while maintaining a rooftop station base in Long Island City, New York. The SPWS uses a LaCrosse WS-2310TWC Personal Weather Station and uploads data to the Weather Underground and PWS Weather networks.


SPWS-BRAC Station, Bronx River Art Center @ Bronx Art Space
SP Weather Station Davis VantagePro2 weather instruments on the roof of BRAC on the Block @ Bronx Art Space, as part of the exhibition “Shifting Communities.” The station monitors indoor and outdoor temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, wind speed/direction, precipitation, and more and forecasts weather for the neighborhood.

Personal Weather Station
Mike Liu
Roosevelt Island
Data is captured via a LaCrosse WS-2310 at 10 minute intervals. The table and Excel graphs are updated every half hour and uploaded a personal website and Weather Underground.

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