In case you were wondering about the 30-foot-high metal tower that suddenly appeared amid a patch of trees on the east side of Arizona State University’s Tempe campus – the one with an array of sensors and monitors attached to it – it’s not capturing data from your cell phone or laptop as you walk by. It’s a meteorological flux tower assembled by three ASU engineering students.
The structure is gathering information about the surrounding ground surface and atmospheric conditions – tracking changes in moisture, carbon dioxide, weather and wind speed and direction.
The sensing devices are detecting and measuring evaporation and gas and heat transfer processes between the soil and the ambient atmosphere.
The students will be using the data as part of larger projects to study how an area’s natural environmental footprint is impacted by the built urban environment – and vice versa.
They plan to move the tower over about a year’s time to several locations on three or four of ASU’s campuses to get readings in a variety of different settings.
Look for a fuller report on the endeavor in the near future on Full Circle on the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering website.