Fingal schools’ weather data to be used by Nasa for climate change modelling

Local council gives every school a ‘weather station’ to improve local forecasting

Data being collected by schools in the Fingal area of Dublin is being supplied to a Nasa project to be used to more accurately predict extreme weather events and create a better understanding of the impact of climate change on the Irish coast.

Since 2021, schools across Fingal have been receiving automatic weather stations as part of an effort by Fingal County Council to produce more detailed rainfall, wind speed, wind direction and temperature records for the county.

The Weather Stations for Schools project has won the support of Met Éireann with its Head of Observations Sarah Gallagher saying that not only are the weather observations “critical in helping meteorologists produce accurate weather forecasts, they provide a historic record of weather conditions that Met Éireann climate scientists use to monitor changes in the climate of Ireland”.

An immediate benefit of the new data on wind speed, which has been collected from along Fingal’s coastline, is that it shows the impacts of climate change.


Previously, coastal erosion models relied on wind speed data collected at Dublin Airport. However, with the airport further inland, the provision of weather stations across Fingal’s coast provided more detailed information and showed higher wind speeds than previously modelled for the areas concerned.

In a similar vein, with rainfall gauges now recording across the council area, its flood section can access the information to take proactive measures.

With the new data giving a more accurate understanding of river responses to different rainfall depths, the council’s flood section can make more accurate flood predictions and deploy flood protection measures in the right places at the right time.

Led by Executive Engineer Kevin Vallely, the project was funded by Fingal County Council’s Chief Executive’s Innovation Fund, with a start-up cost of €5,000.

The weather stations also provide a key education resource for Fingal’s schools with Mr Vallely running workshops in schools around the county to show children what the weather station collects, what the data recording means and how the Council and the Meteorological Service can use this information.

It has also been linked in to the GLOBE project from Nasa with the data on local weather data in north county Dublin being added to multiple sources worldwide.

“This means we are meaningfully contributing to climate change data collection and this information is key to designing local and global responses to flood and drought risks,” said Fingal’s Director of Services for Environment, Climate Action and Active Travel David Storey.

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor and cohost of the In the News podcast