16 September 2020

Industrial PhD Emy Alerskans

Local weather forecasts for agricultural applications:

The company Field Sense, collaborating with the Niels Bohr Institute on the employment of Industrial PhD student Emy Alerskans, manufacture weather stations for larger farms.

Emy Alerskans
Emy Alerskans

In an average setting, the farmer will place weather stations on several locations on and around the fields. The farmer monitors the digital measurements made by the weather stations him/herself and can adjust the planning of crops and types of plants accordingly.

But that’s not all, Fields Sense manufactures a satellite based product as well, monitoring the state of the crops in general. It is possible, through the satellite data, to access a read out of the chloroplast in the field – does it need fertilizer, water and what is the general condition? This data is combined with weather data, collected by the weather stations.

Emy Alerskans’ industrial PhD project is based on the products in the product line of Field Sense and develops them even further, using very local weather forecasts. The data on weather forecasts from Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI), which will be freely available in 2022, is the basis for the mathematical calculations, used by Emy Alerskans for the production of highly precise prognoses for the local area. In combination, the data from the weather stations from Field Sense and data from DMI provide a much more precise basis for the farmer to make decisions about the crops.

Emy Alerskans: My everyday as an industrial PhD student

It is very exciting to be doing an industrial PhD and collaborating with a private company. An industrial PhD not only focuses on theoretical research and writing papers but also on how the research can be applied. For me, this means that my research on post-processing of numerical weather prediction data, using observations from Field Sense’s weather stations, will be implemented and operationalized at Field Sense.

A typical day for me as an industrial PhD student includes reading a new and interesting article on numerical weather prediction, writing code for testing a new post-processing method, participating in meetings with the developers at FieldSense about how to implement the post-processing of NWP data and sometimes also attending courses or seminars. It is just like an ordinary PhD but with an additional focus on the application of my results.