Dingle Weather Weather Monitoring Project


Since the Sacred Heart Department of Biology became involved in the Sacred Heart Campus in Dingle study abroad program in 2013, Departmental faculty have been developing programs to investigate the ecology of the river catchments adjacent to the town of Dingle at the at the weatern end of the peninsula; of particular interest have been the river basins feeding the Milltown, Feohanagh and Owenmore rivers and the bays and harbors that these rivers flow into.  Our goals in undertaking these projects are to:

  • Develop applied educational opportunities for our students
  • Provide information that local communities can use to plan for a sustainable future
  • Contribute to a knowledge base of the ecological functioning of small coastal catchments and their effects on the adjacent marine environment
  • Provide baseline data to monitor the effects of the changing climate

The Milltown, Feohanagh and Owenmore rivers are an interesting study area in that they border one another, are approximately equal in size, but differ significantly in important ecological factors (land use and land cover, slope and orientation, etc).

Particular areas of study over the past few years have been projects focused on:

  • Identifying the bacterial species present at various locations in the rivers
  • Looking at differences in the aquatic insect species and how they vary
  • Investigating the marine algae species where the rivers flow into the different bays
  • Characterizing the physical characteristics of the water (pH, dissolved oxygen, nutrient levels, etc)
  • Studying the contributions of ground vs surface water inputs into the rivers flow

The Weather Monitoring Project

A complicating factor to all investigations has been a lack of an understanding of what seems to be significant differences in weather between the three catchments.  Depending on the amount of difference, this would have significant effects on all the ecological investigations we are pursuing

To address this lack of knowledge Sacred Heart University’s Department of Biology and the Sacred Heart University Campus in Dingle have funded the purchase and installation of three weather stations that record and report data automatically.  The weather stations will be installed at central locations in each of the three main catchments of the western end of the Peninsula.  The data collected and reported includes—temperature, rainfall, sunlight, wind speed and direction, and humidity

Of immediate interest is determining “normal” condition in terms of flow for the rivers in different seasons of the year and monitoring the effects of extreme events that are likely to increase in frequency as the effects of human induced climate change become more pronounced

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