Weather and climate are of large importance in today’s society. Increasing computer power enables to run weather models at ever higher resolutions, but this creates a need for more local weather data. This unique citizen science project gathers researchers, high schools and local partners to initiate a Flemish network of weather stations to collect meteorological data in landscapes where we do not have information today.

Students of the Sint-Augustinusinstituut (Bree) just finished the installation of VLINDER weather station 17 on top of the highest land dune of Flanders.

Land use (e.g. buildings, forests,…) has a significant impact on the atmosphere. Given the increasing spatial resolution of atmospheric models, understanding the land-atmosphere interaction gains importance. But reliable weather observations are mostly limited to rural and open landscapes.The VLINDER project, operational since December 2019, aims at filling this gap by building a regionwide climate monitoring network measuring in all landscapes present (rural, urban, industrial, forests, lakes,…). As a research group it is nearly impossible to initiate a network on such a scale. But by following a citizen science approach the story changes… In this project high schools are involved during the complete duration: they search for scientifically valuable measurement locations, they build and maintain the weather stations and they analyse the collected data.

The VLINDER project is supported by the EWI Department in the context of their citizen science program. To maximize both the citizen and science impact of the project, it is built upon a large consortium consisting of partners with very different scientific, technological and outreach expertise.