I realised the other day, that while I am doing a great many things and I have a great many sources of information, that I do not have an accurate analysis of the weather on my own site. I have run a number of analysis based on the accumalted and derived figures of the three closest Bureua of Meterology weather stations that surround the region, however I have no way to definitively determine any sub-climate variations.
While one can continue to utilise the services of public information sources such as those provided by Bureau’s Agricultural or Climate data pages, having a grip on the localised variations can be useful. This could be as simple as determining that there is a consistent +1*C variation in temperature or that rainfall reaches your property 45 minutes after it hits the weather station which allows you to plan out activities and and logistics.
So … what things would be useful to record?
- Rain fall & Temperature — I think this is pretty self explanatory. I believe that kept in conjunction with the data from the region’s weather stations (in my case the data from Mangalore Airport, Seymour Shire and Broadford) allows a pattern to be developed for sub-climate variation which is useful for forecasting.
- Humidity — Warmer air can contain more moisture than cooler air, which means that for a given amount of atmospheric moisture, the relative humidity will be lower if the air is warm and higher if the air is cool. This can be used to determine a number of factors – from the probability of seeding for crops to the percantile loss of heat (i.e. energy = weight) in cattle
- Barometric Pressure — While used by many to predict storm and rain conditions, I find it’s greatest importance is to determine evaporation rates. As Higher barometric pressures decrease evaporation rates, recording these rates allow you to predict patterns and thus plan activities that require exposure of soil or large quantities of water at times where evaporative conditions are minimised.
- Dew Point –the dewpoint temperature is usually a better measure of how humid it feels outside as it is an absolute measure of water content in the air. It is a good measure of how much fuel is available to thunderstorms as a higher dewpoint represents more water vapor which is thus available available for conversion to rain.
- Wind Speed & Direction — From the point of view of an autonomous home, understanding the wind onsite is a boon for generating power from turbines, determining the viability of utilising wind-powered pumps and determining peak gusts that need to be catered for in the protection of infrastructure – specifically solar panels, greenhouses and sheds.
- Wind Chill — Understanding the chill factor of wind and it’s association with the direction and speed will allow for the design of better wind breaks for livestock.
- Solar Radiation — Once more, an important factor for understanding and determining the generational power of solar panels.
- UV Index — Other than determining whether I need to slip. slop and slap, a UV index can be used in conjuction with other records to help predict heat penetration into the soil.
- Soil Moisture & Temperature — Keeping track of the soil moisture and temperature conditions allows for predicting the best times to seed and to help determine other calculations such as moisture retention and evapotranspiration.
While many weather stations will offer the basics (rain, wind and temperature) a higher end system will cover the other options. Further a telemettry station can provide additional options and module additions (e.g. 3G connectivity, Cameras, automation modules) that could be useful.
I’m starting the research for a suitable system now, but already the Davis Systems are starting to pop up above the crowd.
If you have any experiance with weather or telemetry stations, by all means drop me a line!
Either way, I’m sure will keep you all informed 🙂