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Posted 27 August 2013
The UNSW Fowler's Gap arid-zone research station is in western NSW.
Arid zone rainfall monitoring facilities at the UNSW Fowlers Gap Research Station in western NSW have been upgraded and now provide rainfall, video and groundwater data feeds via the internet.
Rainfall has been monitored at the 400km2 arid zone research station at Fowlers Gap since the early 1970s.
Each paddock at the research station has a representative total rain gauge that has been monitored after each rainfall event.
There are 18 rainfall gauges distributed at a density of approximately 1 every 20 km2 . Until now, a journey of 125km on a farm bike was undertaken each time it rained to collect measurements from the gauges that have been used to build the rainfall record for the site. To date, the total distance travelled to collect this data has been about 2.25 times the earth's circumference at the equator.
This record is a probably unique set of rainfall data for the semi-arid zone.
Now, the Fowlers Gap site is monitored using the Telstra 3G network. The 18 manual gauges have been replaced with with tipping-bucket gauges linked to a data transmission network that makes it possible to view the daily data from the farm office (no bike trips) or remotely via the web.
Video feed image from the Rock Bar stream-gauging station.
Two stream-gauging stations and a network of 9 groundwater observation bores have also been installed and added to the network.
The gauging stations have a remote video link so that flood events can be monitored. When it does rain, the roads are frequently closed to vehicles.
The live data can be viewed at the Fowlers Gap data web site.
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