Why would a mine or large construction site want to monitor weather? These operations already have a mountain of monitoring requirements – noise, vibration, dust, water quality, etc, etc – why would they voluntarily want to add another?
Well it turns out that there are some good reasons. But before going there, let’s start by defining what we mean by weather monitoring.
Weather monitoring, of course, provides the fundamental data used for safety as well as climatological reasons to forecast weather and issue warnings. But since all this is done by the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), mines, construction sites and the general population don’t need to enter this business. Most businesses have procedures in place to manage severe weather conditions as and when advised by the BOM.
Here we are talking about much more localised weather conditions. As we all know, the BOM is forecasting what can be considered an “average” weather over a given geographical area. Within any given area, however, weather conditions can vary significantly due to the presence of things like vegetation, hills/mountains, large heat-emitting machinery, etc. Hence airports usually have very sophisticated weather stations because local weather conditions during takeoffs and landings are major safety concerns. In the same way, mines and large construction sites also have local weather conditions that can influence operations.
Remember the popular phrase: Climate is what you expect, weather is what you get.
Weather and mine sites:
Many of the large mining companies now require weather monitoring as a normal component of the environmental data they collect. Typical parameters called for are:
- Wind speed
- Wind direction
Why are they interested in these parameters?
- Airblast overpressure will be higher when a temperature inversion or a heavy, low cloud cover is present
- Airblast overpressure will also be higher when strong winds are blowing from the mine to the sensitive receivers
- The spread of fumes from the blasting process is also controlled by wind conditions
- The sigma-theta parameter is derived from the horizontal wind direction and is used as a proxy to characterise the dispersion capabilities of the wind
- Vibration levels are influenced by the moisture content of the ground. While vibration levels usually decrease with increasing saturation, this may change due to the influence of local soil characteristics.
In other words, understanding local weather conditions is becoming important to operations that take seriously their obligations to minimise the impact of their mining/quarrying operation.
Weather and construction sites:
Obviously construction sites are different from mine sites – for a start, they are relatively short-term operations while mines are usually there for the long-term. On the other hand, construction projects are usually much closer to sensitive receivers (and there are usually many more such locations) and so their environmental impact can be much higher. Which means that anything that can be used to control the impact of construction activities is beneficial.
The effects of wind, cloud cover (for noise, not overpressure) and ground saturation levels also impact constructions sites, and while these sites don’t have fume problems (at least not normally), the impact of localised strong, gusty winds can be quite extreme – to the point of collapsing incomplete structures. Because many construction sites are within large cities, the impact on local weather conditions of surrounding buildings can be very significant.
So, to get a good handle on the environmental impact of your construction project, you need weather parameters just as much as the more familiar ones.
As you would expect, the range of monitor options available is very broad. So broad in fact (both in capability and cost) that you would be well advised to consult with our service personnel to determine a system best suited to your project or site.
As with the other environmental parameters, weather data can be included in a Guardian/360 by Texcel package. This absolves the operator/contractor of the responsibility of selecting, installing, maintaining, and reporting. Just as importantly, Texcel’s managed services provide an independent, expert, third party facility.
Environmental monitoring made easy.