Archives For weather station

2016-04-27_18-39-27

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.

2016-04-27_18-22-56

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.

2016-04-27_18-26-52

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.

2016-04-27_18-27-06

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.

2016-04-27_18-29-30

“Live” weather data from Hartswood can now be viewed on the internet in these locations:

www.wunderground.com

weatherlink.com

Weatherlink summary

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.

2016-04-27_18-28-21

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.

April 2014: quick monthly weather summary from our weather station in Reigate, Surrey, UK.

Another relatively dry month with 43.6mm of rain falling on Reigate, about the same as April 2013. Please note that we are still calibrating the automatic tipping bucket rain gauge which is possibly under-reading by around 10%.  Calibration is a tricky affair and we want to get it right.  We are supplementing all data by using monthly totals using our CoCoRahs manual rain gauge which is, by default, a more accurate measure of total rainfall. Raw data is available on our data page here.

There were no dramatic warm-ups or cool-downs in temperature during the month.  April 2013 saw a fairly significant warm-up from mid-month but April 2014  flat-lined with no especially warm or cold temps.  It was noticeable that air temps never dipped below freezing.  This allowed the average monthly temp to climb higher than April 2013 overall, despite a lower Tmax.

Tmax 20.4c

Tmin 1.8c

Average temp 11.2c

Total rain 43.6mm (CoCorahs)

Sunshine 138.7 hours

A high pressure dominated the South of England for the middle of the month and reduced rainfall totals.  Later in the month April showers delivered moderate rainfall totals.  There were no significant thundery episodes.

April is the month when many trees come into leaf in the UK. Below are the school lime trees in the playground taken at either end of the month.

April is also a month of lengthening days and misty mornings with heat building at the surface triggering fluffy cumulus clouds in the afternoon.  Some of these produce enough instability to produce “April showers” in cool maritime airstreams with warming at the surface.

Away from the UK, the US experienced a significant tornado outbreak at the end of April when an active cold front swept clean across the entire country and triggered 133 identified tornadoes in the Mid-West / tornado alley and at least 40 deaths.  The Mayflower tornado (EF4) on 27 April in Mississippi tore through the state leaving a 41 mile trail of destruction and 16 deaths.  Tornado damage cost over US $1 billion. http://www.weather.com/news/tornado-central/tornado-scars-april-outbreak-20140507

Excellent article here on the US tornado outbreak April 2014.

In stark contrast, but related to extreme weather elsewhere, the drought in the SW of the USA continued through the month.

Other weather news includes a potentially mega outbreak of the El Nino this year.  The El Nino is a warming of the eastern Pacific Ocean waters.  This huge ocean warming is a major fly-wheel of global climate and the ENSO is a significant gear change that impacts weather systems globally.  The warming is natural (nothing to do with AGW) but has major impacts on weather extremes around the world and could, potentially, make 2014/2015 the warmest year ever. More detail here on El Nino from the great weather guru Gav at http://youtu.be/VJXpvv0P2pw

The map below shows the usual weather relationships expected during the course of a major El Nino event (ENSO).  Note that the UK and Europe does not experience a known / correlated weather impact: i.e. an El Nino does not have a regular impact on our weather.  However, this does not mean we will not experience some impacts from this major global weather gear change. All things considered, we are lucky in the UK to have less severe weather than many countries around the world, albeit this can be a little frustrating for weather enthusiasts who like a bit of exciting non-injurious weather occasionally!

2014-05-10_07-22-49