The measurement trailer was constructed in Finland during the winter 2005-06 with funding from Finnish Foreign Ministry. The aim of the project was to help to train students of the North-West University in atmospheric measurements and increase scientific knowledge in atmospheric physics and chemistry in southern Africa.

From the beginning, the focus was on long-term measurements instead of short campaigns.

The trailer was transported to South Africa in 2006 and the measurements started in Botsalano game reserve approximately 300 km west of Johannesburg in July 2007. The Botsalano game reserve is a clean background savannah site with relatively low pollutant concentrations, occasionally hit by plumes from Johannesburg and Rustenburg areas. The measurements at Botsalano continued until January 2008.

Measurement station at Botsalano
Measurements at Botsalano

In February 2008 the trailer was transported to Marikana village in the Rustenburg mining area aiming to study pollutants resulting from extensive mining, domestic burning in informal settlements and other industrial and domestic emissions. During the period in Marikana, the trailer was upgraded with black carbon measurements. The measurements in Marikana continued until May 2010, when the trailer was moved to its permanent location, Welgegund, within easy reach from the North-West University.

Measurements at Marikana
Measurements at Marikana

The Welgegund measurement site is approximately 100 km west of Johannesburg. The biome is grazed grassland savannah with scattered acacia trees. There are a few minor local sources, but the site is frequently hit by aged plumes from Johannesburg (Gauteng) metropolitan area, and occasionally by clean air from sparsely populated areas to the sector in south-west to north-west.

Surroundings of Welgegund Station with cattle.
Welgegund station is located on a farm with cattle.