Montana Outdoors

Aug 10, 2011 10:10 PM by Laura Wilson (KAJ News)

High-tech weather stations improve data collection on Flathead Lake

FLATHEAD LAKE- Scientists will soon have a faster, more efficient way to collect data from Flathead Lake's ecosystem, and learn how water temperatures affect the different species.

The UM Flathead Lake Biological Station (UMFLBS) and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution set up two high-tech weather stations Wednesday on Flathead Lake.

The lake monitoring profiler will help measure the lake's conditions year-round, with data results every five minutes.

In the past, they were only able to collect data fifteen times a year, by traveling out in a boat, sending the equipment over the edge, and storing the data electronically.

UMFLBS Research Assistant Professor Bonnie Ellis says this method is not only more convenient, it's safer. "When it's really rough out here, we don't have to risk our lives to see what's going on, and it will give us better precision in trying to predict what's going to happen with increasing temperatures, or decreasing temperatures."

These new buoys will also help scientists understand some unusual characteristics Flathead Lake has shown in the last decade.

Contact Laura Wilson

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