Presentation of the VLINDER network.

The many proposals for measuring locations result in a unique Flemish citizen science measuring network of 56 weather stations that will allow to gain new insights into the environmental influence on the weather.

After a detailed analysis of all proposals submitted by secondary schools, the locations of the future VLINDER network are known. The wealth of submitted locations means that we have an impressive network of very diverse locations. Thanks to sponsorship from the VLINDER IoT partner AllThingsTalk (3 weather stations) and a collaboration with the city ​​of Mechelen (3 weather stations), 56 locations can ultimately welcome a weather station.

From De Panne to Maaseik

The diversity of measurement locations and the geographical spread are particularly large, as can be seen on the overview map below. There will be measured in dune areas on the Coast (De Panne and De Haan) but there will also be a VLINDER weather station at the highest Flemish land dune located in Limburg (Oudsbergen). The VLINDER network will provide a detailed picture of the heat island effect in Flanders and Brussels. Is this phenomenon limited to the big cities or does it also occur in smaller towns or even villages? Both in the 3 largest cities (Brussels, Antwerp and Ghent) and in a number of smaller cities (eg Ypres, Sint-Truiden, Mechelen, …) urban VLINDER measuring points are provided. The mitigating effect of greenheat will be studied by comparing measurements in green urban oases (eg Antwerp Zoo or Royal Palace garden) with nearby densely built-up environments. The effect of water on the microclimate will be investigated with measurements on islands, along rivers and at the extensive water saving basin of Kluizen (Evergem). To what extent does the season determine the impact of water on temperature, is there a difference between day and night, …? The cooperation of companies makes it possible to measure in industrial environments (eg in the Antwerp and Ghent port area). In cooperation with nature organizations, a number of extensive nature and forest areas (eg in North Limburg) will also receive a VLINDER measuring point.

Overview map with the proposed (in red) and selected (in green) BUTTERFLY locations. To illustrate the diversity of measurement environments, the map zooms in at 10 selected locations.

Selection on a scientific basis

In selecting the scientific value of the proposed location of the decisive given. For example, both the immediate environment and the local environment were carefully studied for each proposal. It has been decided to select as diverse landscapes as possible spread throughout Flanders. Practical preconditions such as the susceptibility to vandalism at a location also played a role. Finally, an attempt was made to have at least one other BUTTERER location in the same region for selected locations so that the measurements can be compared. To further strengthen the scientific value of the network, researchers themselves have added 4 locations in relevant environments for which no suitable proposals have been submitted by schools (eg in the center of Brussels).

Great collaboration with schools

To build up this unique network, we had to count on the cooperation of Flemish secondary schools and that cooperation has surprised us very positively so far! It was particularly interesting to receive so many good proposals from 160 secondary schools (ASO, BSO, TSO, KSO and BuSO) from all over Flanders. Often the enthusiasm was not limited to schools, but local governments, companies or citizens also put their shoulders under the proposed locations. Eventually, locations belonging to 47 secondary schools were selected that will build and install a VLINDER weather station at the selected location. These schools will receive a message with further information and an invitation for a demo moment for the teachers involved. This fall the schools build the weather stations and the network will be operational by the end of 2019 . To our regret we also disappoint more than 100 schools with often good proposals. By choosing clustered measurement points, there are also regions that fall out of the VLINDER boat. But today it is not possible to include more locations within the current project. Schools that are not selected can still get started with the educational material that will appear online in the course of the fall. In addition, everyone will be able to view all data in real time via the WOW platform.

We would like to thank all schools, but also the municipalities, cities, citizens and companies involved in a proposal for their enthusiasm and commitment!

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