Own a Weather Station? We Want Your Data!
Do you own a personal home weather station and a computer with a dedicated connection to the Internet, such as fiber, DSL or cable? If you do, the National Weather Service (NWS) and local television meteorologists would love to see your data! The NWS can ingest your frequently-posted weather data into our data and display systems, which can not only improve computer model data (and subsequent weather forecasts) for your area, but also makes the NWS and local television meteorologists aware of micro-climates (unique temperature, wind and precipitation patterns) specific to your local area.
In addition, have you ever watched the weather on television and your favorite meteorologist shows or references weather data from some pretty small towns and remote areas not near your typical larger airports that have a dedicated weather sensor? That data comes from personal weather stations, uploaded to the MADIS data stream, and used by television meteorologists to help bring local weather conditions to you, the viewer.
Check out the screen capture below - all those dots represent weather stations that are sending data into the MADIS data stream. Most of these are private weather stations! (Image is courtesy of MADIS). If you wish to access this disply, just follow the link above!
Posting your data online is relatively quick and simple if you own a weather station that is capable of interfacing with a computer. If your weather station and accompanying computer software has this functionality (check the instruction manuals), and you have dedicated connection to the Internet, read on for some more information on how you can send your data out to the world!
So how do you get your weather data online? The Citizen Weather Observer Program (CWOP) is a private-public partnership with three main goals: 1) to collect weather data contributed by citizens; 2) to make these data available for weather services and homeland security; and 3) to provide feedback to the data contributors so that they have the tools to check and improve their data quality.
There are over 6,000 registered CWOP members world wide, including a large number in Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio. CWOP members send their weather data by to special computer servers (MADIS), and then every 15 minutes, the entire data set is sent from these servers to an NWS server. These data are checked for quality and accuracy and then redistributed to users. The data is available for use by NWS and television meteorologists for use in forecasts and situational awareness almost immediately. There are over 500 different user organizations of mesonet data.
If you are interested in improving weather forecasts, and want your data to play a role in the overall NWS watch/warning/forecast process, or be used by your local television meteorologist in their forecast process and current condition presentation, then navigate to the CWOP link above and become a member of CWOP. Read and follow the instructions to become a CWOP member, as well as for your weather station and weather software. Once you acquire a CWOP identification (ID), set up your weather software/station to send your data! This is usually a very quick and relatively simple setup.
To give you some idea of how valuable this data can be, check out this news link from CWOP which details some of the ways CWOP data is being used in extreme weather situations or in other unique ways.
If you are interested in getting your data online, and have questions about the overall process, please send an email to the link below! Due to a widely varying number of weather stations and software packages, we won't be able to address specific setup problems, or recommend specific instrument/software packages. Please address those questions to CWOP, or refer to your instruction manuals.
Seth Binau - Science/Operations Officer