First Primary School in Fingal receives an automatic weather station

by Gazette Reporter

The Deputy Mayor of Fingal, Cllr Daniel Whooley, launched the second part of The Weather Stations for Schools project yesterday at the Rush and Lusk Educate Together National School when he presented Third Class with the first of the automatic weather stations that are being rolled out to primary schools across Fingal.

Sixteen Primary Schools across Fingal County Council’s seven Local Electoral Areas will receive an automatic weather stations as part of The Weather Stations for Schools project.

The launch was also attended by the director of Services for Environment, Climate Action and Active Travel, David Storey, Fingal County Council Executive Engineer, Kevin Vallely, Joanna Donnelly from Met Eireann and Oliver Nicholson from the Office of Public Works (OPW).

Primary Schools in Fingal had the opportunity to apply for an automatic weather station which produce real time information about rainfall, temperature, wind speed and wind direction. There were 42 applications from which 16 were chosen. They are listed below.

Cllr Whooley said: “It was fantastic to officially launch the second phase of the Weather Stations for Schools project and present the class with the automatic weather station today. It’s a great initiative that will benefit Met Éireann and the primary school students alike. The children will further their knowledge regarding key challenges like Climate Change and flooding while at the same time helping Met Éireann monitor rainfall and climate and produce accurate weather forecasts.”

In addition to the 16 weather stations being provided Fingal County Council under the Chief Executive’s Innovation Fund, three more organisations have agreed to sponsor the rollout of weather stations in particular parts of the county.

OPW going to sponsor weather stations for primary schools in Rush, Donabate and Portrane as part of the Outer Rogerstown Estuary Coastal Flooding scheme while Our Balbriggan will be sponsoring primary schools in Balbriggan. Dublin City Council in partnership with Fingal County Council will be sponsoring the St. Margaret’s/Coolquay area, as part of the Santry River Flood Relief scheme. Because of this, school in these areas were not considered for the 16 Champion Schools.

Mr Vallely, who is heading this project said: “It was great to see so many schools show an interest in the Weather Stations for Schools project. These automatic weather stations will be able to record wind speed, temperature, rainfall and wind direction. This information will be extremely useful to the OPW, Met Éireann and Fingal’s flood sections.”

This first phase of The Weather Stations for Schools project was the rain gauge launch in June 2021. The then Deputy Mayor, Cllr Robert O’Donoghue, launched the initiative in Rush and Lusk Educate Together National School when he presented Third Class with the first rain gauge. The Council is currently distributing rain gauges to 100 primary schools across the county.

This initiative is being supported by the Chief Executive’s Innovation Fund, set up January this year by the Chief Executive of Fingal County Council AnnMarie Farrelly.

Ms Farrelly said: “This is the first of four projects to be launched from the Innovation Fund this year. The Innovation fund was launched to facilitate staff submitting original ideas that can bring greater value to the Council. The Weather Stations for Schools project is a great initiative that will not only provide valuable information, but it will also help to promote an appreciation of the water cycle and climate change challenges faced by the community.”

Sarah Gallagher, Head of Observations at Met Éireann, said: “Met Éireann are very supportive of the Weather Stations for Schools project. Schools can easily enter rainfall measurement and other weather information collected from their weather stations onto Met Éireann’s Weather Observations Website, WOW-IE. This is a global network of weather observations where the public can view and share their measurements.  Not only are weather observations critical in helping meteorologists produce accurate weather forecasts, they provide an historic record of weather conditions that Met Éireann climate scientists use to monitor changes in the climate of Ireland.”

Mr Nicholson, Head of the Hydrology Section at the OPW, said: “The provision of these rain gauges to 16 schools in the Fingal area will give students a greater appreciation of how weather variables are measured and made publicly available online. The weather stations provided by this initiative will be a useful educational tool that will broaden the student’s understanding of how rainfall measurements can be used for various purposes such as weather and flood forecasting, flood mapping, design of flood relief measures, hydrological modelling and drought monitoring. I am sure that the heavy concentration of these weather stations in the Fingal area will garner much attention from the research community for studies relating to the spatial variability of rainfall depths. I believe that this has great educational potential for all schools across the state, and would strongly expect that this initiative will be replicated in other Local Authority areas in the near future.”

The 16 Champion Schools are:

Balbriggan Local Electoral Area

St Patrick’s SNS, Skerries

St Oliver Plunkett’s, Balrothery

Rush-Lusk Local Electoral Area

Rush and Lusk Educate Together National School

Naul National School

Howth-Malahide Local Electoral Area

St Marnock, Portmarnock

Howth Primary School

Oliver Plunkett’s Primary School, Malahide

Swords Local Electoral Area

St Colmcille’s BNS, Swords

Holy Family SNS, River Valley

Thornleigh Educate Together National School, Applewood

Blanchardstown-Mulhuddart

Local Electoral Area

St Luke,s National School, Tyrrelstown

Castleknock Local Electoral Area

Scoil Bhride Cailini /St Brigid,s Boys

St Patrick’s Diswellstow, Carpenterstown, Castleknock

Scoil Oilibheir, Coolmine

Ongar Local Electoral Area

Castaheany Educate Together National School

Hansfield Educate Together National School

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