Today we put up a new weather station at our sports ground at Hartswood outside Reigate. This location will complement our established town weather station located at Reigate Grammar School. Hartswood is an out of town location with more exposure from all wind directions. It is already recording different conditions to the town (see links below).
The new weather station is a robust self-contained Davis Vantage Vue automatic weather station (AWS). This model was chosen for its ability to cope with exposed sites and it has a reputation for being relatively maintenance free for longer periods. It is commonly put on masts on rooves, as we have done here.
This AWS is unusual because it uses the new Vantage Connect system. The Connect system uses the mobile phone network to transmit data at 15 minute intervals to the Weatherlink website where it is pushed onwards to other websites, such as Weather Underground. There is also a handy local live read out of weather on a console in the Tea Hut window.
The Vantage Vue weather station is simple to set up being a single housed unit. Attaching the anemometer and wind vane involves tightening screws with a tiny allen key. The Connect System is also easy to set up. Insert and connect batteries, start both systems up and they will endeavour to discover each other with little intervention.
The console unit also discovers the AWS and starts displaying data almost immediately with little user input.
Once the systems are working and data is uploading reliably to the internet then assembly and fitting onto the roof is the next step. An aerial expert was employed for this bit.
Orientation to the South is important for both the Vantage Vue and Connect systems. Not only do they both use solar panels to maintain battery power (used at night of course) the Vantage Vue also requires a southerly orientation to ensure that wind direction readings are accurately recorded by the wind vane. This is all explained in the manuals.
Roof top sites for AWS are popular but they have pros and cons. Whilst wind readings benefit greatly from a clear wind run at height (so long as the mast exceeds a metre or so above the roof line to avoid eddies and turbulence), the accuracy of rain recordings can sometimes suffer with greater wind speed rendering totals somewhat less reliable than traditional ground based rain gauges (although ground based AWS often do not entirely satisfy strict meteorological conditions for rain gauge placement either). Roof locations benefit from better security and connectivity. Overall, with single-unit compact weather stations a roof top location is a good compromise and the most effective use of this technology. Our Vantage Pro 2 AWS in town allowed us to divide the rain gauge and temperature sensor units on the ground from the anemometer on the roof, a better solution.
“Live” weather data from Hartswood can now be viewed on the internet in these locations:
It is hoped the data will prove to be useful for checking the weather conditions before matches for staff, students, players and spectators preparing for their match or visit.
Eventually a ground frost sensor can be added to issue alarms when ground temperatures fall to near zero. This will save some guess-work and early visits to check if pitches are frozen or not. Data will also be useful for students doing weather studies in urban micro-climate and the data can also be used by computing and maths students amongst many other applications.
RGSweather will also be able to compare data between town and edge of town locations.