Having an outdoor event is an exciting thing, but if the weather turns bad unexpectedly, it can ruin all your fun. That is why it is necessary to predict weather changes and know how a home weather station works.
Having a home weather station provides many benefits that you may not be aware of. Having accurate weather information can help you plan your day according to weather forecasts, and can protect you from upcoming weather surprises.
Acquiring one is not a problem, as they are sold all over the world direct from manufacturers or in many retail outlets. However, not knowing how a home weather station works will mean that you are missing out on vital information.
This article will explain precisely how does a home weather station work.
What Is A Home Weather Station?
A home weather station is a device that has multiple sensors that collect environmental and weather-related data.
It usually has a display unit which is a screen or tablet to show its results. Most home weather stations iinclude sensors to measure temperature, rain, humidity, wind, atmospheric pressure, and so on. Some advanced ones can connect to your PC or mobile through wireless apps.
Now, to answer the question.
How Does The Home Weather Station Work?
Actually, it is safe to say that a home weather station is a device that comprises multiple sensors, gadgets and tools. In fact, modern weather monitoring stations have done a great job at compacting these tools and making them function in one unit.
Some are automated and connected to similar stations around a specific or broad area through a network. This allows them to give precise and accurate weather data in little time. By analyzing historic data, they can alert you of weather conditions and hazardous situations that may be coming.
Knowing the weather is important if you’re having an event such as a picnic or family gathering. It can even be vital for gardening or if have just washed the quilt from your bed and have it out drying in the sun. You can get yourself, your family or your materials indoors and away from the danger of the changing weather if you know what’s coming.
However, there are regular weather stations that are not automated. These are manual stations that comprise five basic sensors and easily show how a home weather station works.
The first sensor in a manual weather station is the thermometer. The thermometer, as we all know, is used to measure the temperature of the surrounding air. The function of the thermometer in your weather station is to tell the current temperature of your environment.
Also, it shows the difference in the temperature of the two environments that you frequent. For example, the temperature inside the house and that of outside. It will also alert you to significant and sudden changes in the weather as the temperature rises or falls. A home weather station that works well, will show you the highs, lows, and average.
Some weather stations have advanced thermometers that can measure wet bulb globe temperatures. These are measured by factors like the level and heat of the sun and cloud in a day, the angle of the sun, the speed of the wind, and the humidity of the environment.
Having a knowledge of the wet bulb globe temperature tells you the best way to cope with the current weather.
A barometer is the second common instrument in a home weather station. The function of this sensor is to measure the pressure of the air or atmospheric pressure. Sudden changes in air pressure can mean a change in the coming weather.
Dropping barometric pressure shows a low-pressure system is coming. Low atmospheric pressure means that there is not enough force to push clouds away and could indicate a storm. When you get these indications, you should take action immediately and probably get indoors.
On the other hand, rising atmospheric pressure increases the forces that push those clouds away. High barometric pressure is associated with clear skies and sunny days.
Knowing how home weather stations work allows you to use the data from these sensors to better plan your outdoor events.
An anemometer calculates wind speed and direction. They come in many varieties, but the most common in home weather stations are the cup anemometer and vane anemometer. As the names suggest, a cup anemometer uses cups that spin horizontally while a vane anemometer has blades that spin vertically. Wind speed is measured by the number of rotations at any given time.
Either way, they do the same job. As wind speed is rarely consistent, it has gusts and lulls, this measurement uses an average over short time periods. The way home weather stations work is that they will also measure and record these gusts.
This information helps you to detect if there is an impending tornado, or when the wind is behaving in unusual ways. You don’t want a windstorm blowing your garden furniture away!
The last sensor that makes a home weather station work is the rain gauge. The role of a rain gauge is to measure the amount of rain that falls over a certain period of time in an area.
Rainfall measurements are important for many industries. Farmers, gardeners, construction workers, climate experts, and weather enthusiasts all rely on information gathered from the humble rain gauge. Often this data is analyzed with previous months or years to show patterns these industries can rely on.
Most home weather stations use a self-emptying rain gauge so that you get accurate data. There are still some that use the manual rain gauge so make sure you know which your weather station has. A manual rain gauge will need to be monitored regularly, particularly during heavy rainfall.
The Tempest Weather System uses a unique rain gauge which is the only one that coesn’t collect precipitation. Instead, it uses a haptic rain sensor which measures the vibrations from the raindrops. This new technology may well change the way we measure rainfall in the future.
Differences In How Home Weather Stations Work
There are 2 basic types of weather stations and they work in very different ways. When people hear the term “home weather station” the image that comes to mind is usually that of an electronic or “smart” home weather station. However, it must be noted that there are many people who still use an analog weather station at home.
Analog Home Weather Station
An analog home weather station differs from the electronic ones in a few ways. While the sensors are similar, there is no anemometer or rain gauge. These traditional devices have the instruments mounted into a wooden panel. They can hang on the wall or sit on a desk.
To make these home weather stations work you must regularly check the readings and note them manually. As far as accuracy goes, the best we can call them is decorative.
Can be hung horizontal or vertical; Dials are 2.5" in diameter; Weather station thermometer, barometer, hygrometer
Last update on 2021-09-23
Electronic and smart weather stations
Electronic and smart weather stations use a mini-computer to record the data from the sensor array. These weather stations can be wireless or cabled and often have data from both indoor and outdoor sensors.
Weather data is constantly updated and stored and you can create graphs and compare historical data from previous months or years. Most will also connect to weather networks such as Weather Underground to allow you access to data from other stations in your area.
A smart home weather station has the additional capacity to connect to a PC or app on a tablet or phone. They also integrate with smart homes featuring Alexa or Google assistant.
Company Based in Lake Geneva, WI, USA - Since 1943
Last update on 2021-09-23
Readers have asked how home weather stations work. So, we set about answering that exact question. From the traditional analog weather station to electronic and even smart home weather stations, there are many choices.
We looked at the different sensors, what they measure and how this can help you with weather forecasts. It is important to know what each of these sensors does to get the best information. You should now have enough knowledge on how a home weather station works to feel confident when either buying or using one.
Imagine a world with no weather stations! How would we predict if tomorrow was going to be sunny, rainy, or cloudy? More importantly, how would we prepare ourselves for any natural calamity?
Weather stations or weather centers are tech-savvy devices that collect, analyze, and record information about the weather and climate. They utilize various sensors and other equipment to collect and analyze data about the atmospheric conditions. Once analyzed, the results can be used to predict accurate weather forecasts, based on hostorical data.
Why Are Weather Stations Important?
Weather stations are a necessity, as they help us to predict the weather. Being able to forecast the weather plays a vital role in our lives. Knowing what the weather will be like today or tomorrow influences the way we dress, our plans, and even our preparations to face natural disasters.
Accurate weather forecasting is also essential for farming, fishing, and aviation.
The goal of weather stations is to provide people and organizations with the information (weather forecasts) to prevent weather-related losses (both life and property). Knowing what weather is coming also has societal benefits such as economic prosperity and increased quality of life.
What Do Weather Stations Analyze?
Located both on land and sea (ships and buoys), weather stations forecast the weather by measuring the atmospheric conditions of a particular area and its surroundings. This includes measuring and analyzing the atmospheric temperature, pressure, humidity, wind speed and direction, rainfall, and snowfall.
Measure atmospheric temperatures, recording the high and lower limits.
The data collected is analyzed to identify temperature trends (rise and fall of temperature), and to predict future temperature ranges.
Traditionally, it was mercy thermometers that were used. Mercury being temperature-sensitive would expand and contract at high and low temperatures respectively. These differences would cause the mercury to rise in its glass casing (later plastic.)
Present-day thermometers are mostly digital, tracking and recording information directly to the weather stations console or a computer.
We found these best selling thermometers on Amazon
USA BASED: Marketing, Engineering, and Customer Service teams; MONITOR COMFORT LEVELS: Measures indoor and outdoor temperatures
Last update on 2021-09-23
Relative humidity of the atmosphere, which is the quantity (as a percentage) of water vapor in the air, is measured using a hygrometer. This is done by calculating factors such as dew, heat index and precipitation.
Measurement of relative humidity is essential as too high or low humidity has a negative impact on both our health and homes. Think of nasty mold and mildew growing in your home!
Most modern day weather stations monitor indoor humidity as well.
Here are the best selling hygrometers for weather stations on Amazon.
Easy to calibrate for local barometric pressure; Adjustable pressure change indicator; Color coded dial shows typical conditions for great, good or poor fishing
Last update on 2021-09-23
Wind speed is measured using an anemometer. It records the peak and average speed of the wind and records it in knots, MPH or KPH.
Most weather stations use cup anemometers mounted on a pole for greater accuracy. However, the top of the line Ambient Weather WS-5000 Ultrasonic Smart Weather Station has integrated an ultrasonic anemometer. Not only does it have greater accuracy, with no moving parts there is zero wear and tear, no maintenance and it lasts longer.
Check out these best selling anemometers on Amazon.
View rainfall totals for the current day, yesterday, past week, by month and year; Makes a great gift for the gardener or casual weather-watcher
Last update on 2021-09-23
Weather Instruments Not Used With Weather Stations
This is another tool that can measure both the speed and direction of the wind. It is commonly seen in airports as air traffic controllers and pilots have to consider the speed and direction of the wind when charting flight plans.
Although not used with weather stations, they are a fun weather instrument to have at home.
Check out these best seller windsock weather station on Amazon.
(GOES): Operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service division of the United States. The GOES satellite is 35,790 kilometers above the planet.
It is ‘geo-fixed’ on a specific location and rotates around Earth, collecting information continuously.
The three basic types of GOES imagery include:
Visible – light records images of clouds, storms, fires, and smogs.
Infrared – monitors and records temperatures of both land and sea, and oceanic currents.
Water vapor imagery – analyzes the moisture content in the higher atmospheric levels, in order to determine the formation of thunderstorms.
Polar Orbiting Environmental Satellite (POES):
They fly closer to the earth, about 530 miles away, and orbit around Earth pole-to-pole.
How Weather Stations Can Forecast The Weather
Scientists, meteorologists and weather forecasters collect, compile and compute conditions and patterns of an areas weather and atmospheric readings. This data is run through a computer to find trends and patterns of weather readings. These computer-generated models are analyzed and studied in order to predict the weather.
Earlier, meteorologists had to manually collect and calculate this information. However, as technology advances, weather stations are becoming automated. Now-a-days, readings are automatically recorded and transferred to the computer within the display console or transmitted to a larger database.
Modern weather stations do all the predicting for you!
Types of Weather Stations
Once you start to look into home weather stations, you will find many variables. Price, included sensors, cabled or WiFi, smart home connectivity and specifications will vary for each brand and model.
There are many different brands available, with some of the top names featuring on every list of best home weather stations.
Personal Home Weather Stations:
These can be simple or advanced monitors that digitally display the basic information of the temperature and humidity indoors.
Check out this best seller personal/home weather stations on amazon;
These units use remote monitors to track and display the temperature and humidity both indoors and outdoors.
A digital display in full colour or black and white can also show the time and phases of the moon. In fact, these best-selling weather stations can forecast the weather for up to 48 hours and send data to various networks online.
These comprehensive models are connected to the WIfi and can access the National Weather Service feeds to provide weather forecasts. Advanced models, they are designed for weather enthusiasts and can display information on temperature (high and low range of temperature), pressure, precipitation, wind speed and direction, dew point as well as moon phase.
Our list of complete weather stations will provide any data you could wish for and are perfect for many professions. Farmers and graziers, landscape and garden experts, elite sportspeople, surfers and any marine enthusiast will benefit from these top home weather stations. Or, you could invest in a professional weather station.
At first appearance, the lush lawn surrounding a suburban home would seem like a simple decorative affectation. However, the practice of keeping the perfect lawn as low-cut vegetation around a dwelling has a very practical origin.
If you built your castle in the middle of a woodland which was relatively common in medieval Europe, trees and bushes close to the walls of the castle provided a lot of places to hide. But, if you cut down the trees and planted grass, enemy soldiers and other undesirable elements would have a harder time sneaking up on you. Practical right?
The Perfect Modern Lawn
Hopefully, you do not have to worry about enemy forces laying siege to your suburban bungalow, but there are still some very good reasons to maintain a healthy lawn around the house.
Not only does it drive up the curb appeal of your property, but a lush, cool and perfect lawn can also help keep the house cooler during the hot summer months. It gives the kids a safe place to play outside of the house, and can provide the homeowner a refreshing extra room. What could be nicer after a busy day than relaxing outside on a cool lawn?
Many neighborhoods and homeowners’ associations require residents to maintain an attractive lawn so as to protect everyone’s property values. These requirements are more often relaxed during times of drought and water rationing. However, a healthy and well-watered lawn has the added benefit of contributing to fire safety.
Lawns are more likely to thrive in the wet conditions which are common in the Old World, but, keeping a perfect lawn in North America usually requires some additional irrigation. For decades, this has meant simply turning on the sprinkler and hoping that you remember to turn it off after an hour or so. In fact, it is not uncommon to see sprinkler systems running in the middle of a rain storm!
Grass is a remarkably resilient plant, which means that your lawn will likely survive if conditions are less than perfect. You don’t have to mow your lawn if you don’t water it, but if the grass is healthy, it will crowd out weeds. Kidding aside, mowing the grass can be a healthy and relaxing activity, and it contributes to the perfect modern lawn.
Your Lawn and the Weather
Over-irrigation can be as stressful for your lawn as not watering enough. Experts generally agree that the grass varieties which make up most lawns in North America will thrive if they are given between one and two inches of water each week.
To find out how long you should run your sprinklers, you have to know how much water the lawn is getting from natural rainfall. And, the best way to find your local rainfall amount is to take a reading from your personal Weather Station. If you need a simpler and cheaper solution, invest in a rain gauge.
This is one of the most popular weather stations on the market and comes with an easy to read and programme HD display. It helps you to determine precise weather conditions, indoor comfort and daily record dashboards. You can easily mount the sensor outside and plugin the display to get accurate readings and weather updates.
If you are looking forward to getting periodic rainfall updates for a perfect lawn, this can be a really good option for you. Also, this comes with a sleep mode that can be turned on for while you go to sleep.
The Barometer depicts highly reliable future forecasts so that you can easily plan your tours and upcoming events. It even keeps a record of outdoor temperature and humidity up to 1 year of weekly high and low records. A digital clock automatically updates itself according to daylight saving features and it includes an alarm clock. You can set customizable alarms for temperature, wind speed, humidity, rainfall, etc.
Size: 0.6 x 7.6 x 5.5 inches
Wind Direction: 16 points
Temperature Accuracy: +/-2 degree F
Humidity Accuracy: +/-3 %
Transmission Frequency: 18-36 seconds depends on the measurement
Lightning Detector Range: 25 miles(40 km)
Wireless range: 330 feet
Pros & Cons
Easy to setup
Bright, colorful and clear display
Accurate outdoor reading
Has a Night mode
Less accurate indoor reading
No battery backup for power cuts
This can be a great companion for your beautiful home if you often want to keep track of outdoor weather conditions. Although, it’s indoor readings aren’t so accurate to comprehend with the price range. It’s built quality and durability is impeccable and it’s highly recommended for tracking outdoor weather conditions.
It’s completely weather resistant, has a quality rain gauge as well as our favourite feature – it is self emptying. One of the most accurate rain guages on the market with its accuracy up to 0.4 inch increments, it also records temperature and humidity.
The transmission range of this rain guage is fantastic. It can transmit data from 300 feet away meaning you have more choices as to where you place your gauge.
Think thats all the amazing features this machine has? Think again! This amazing rain gauge has a 10 day data history record ability making it one of the longer storage systems.
Finally, it can track the amount of water you use to water your lawn which gives you the edge when trying to grow the perfect lawn. When you combine the 10 day data record with your personal watering you can easily achieve the perfect lawn!
Size: 3.54 x 5.59 x 0.98 inches
Accuracy: Up to 0.4 inches
Wireless Transmission: Up to 300 feet
Data Collection: 10 Days
Power Source: 4 AA Batteries
Pros & Cons
Easy to setup
Bright and clear display
Accurate outdoor reading
Easy to read
Change batteries regulalry
Poor technical support
This is a great rain guage for the home gardener that is easy to use without breaking the bank. Its features make it perfect for measuring both rain and sprinkler water so that you can water your lawn to perfection.
Now that you have a handle on how much water nature is providing your lawn, you can determine how much you need to add with your sprinkler system.
We can find the efficiency of your sprinkler system with this simple experiment. If you are using a sprinkler attached to a garden hose, find an empty tuna can and place it on the ground, open side up, near the center of the sprinkler’s spray pattern. Turn on the sprinkler and monitor the amount of time it takes for half an inch of water to collect in the can.
You can use a similar procedure with an installed sprinkler system, but you may want to test in several places in your yard to ensure that your system is watering evenly.
What Is The Best Time To Water Your Lawn
Watering during the heat of the day leads to water loss from evaporation. In fact, it is also thought that sunlight shining through the lens created by a water droplet on a flower blossom can lead to sunburn damage in your flowerbeds.
Watering at night or just before, or after, sundown means that your lawn will be wet all night! This may encourage fungus and disease growth. We recommend to turn your sprinklers on as early in the morning as you can. It will be cooler with less wind early in the morning. This means less evaporation and the full day’s sunlight will discourage fungus and disease.
Turning the sprinklers on once or twice a week for a decent time is thought to be more beneficial than watering daily for a short amount of time. Frequent watering, even frequent deep watering, will encourage shallow root growth.
A longer watering period allows the water to soak in more effectively, but there is a danger of watering too long in a session. Our experts recommend trying different time periods and monitor the health of your grass. If having a perfect lawn is what you are looking for, some data collection may just be required.
Understand that each season will require different levels of water. Grass grows very little during winter, and, if you live in an area that is affected by frost or snow, adding moisture is a major no-no! Once spring arrives, watch for signs of wilting as the weather warms and ensure to add some fertiliser as the grass comes back to life. Then, in the summer months, keep moisture levels even with some deep watering to create the perfect lawn and be the envy of your neighbourhood.
Water Your Lawn Early In The Morning
Remember when we mentioned rainfall rates during our discussion of rain gauges? A summer thunderstorm can dump several inches of rain in a small area in a very short amount of time.
However, not all of that rain will soak into the soil where the roots of your lawn can use it. The same thing may occur if you run your sprinklers for too long. If puddles begin to form in your lawn, you may encounter runoff.
Sprinkler water running down the street and not soaking into the soil is wasted and costing you money! It may be more beneficial to turn on the sprinkler for ten or twenty minutes, turn it off for a bit to allow the water to soak into the soil, and then turn on the sprinkler again.
The “screwdriver test” is a good way to judge whether or not you are getting a sufficient soak. If you can easily push a six-inch screwdriver into the soil, then when you remove it there’s soil coating the screwdriver shaft, your lawn is getting a good soak. If the screwdriver comes out dry, you need to give your lawn more water.
The Proper Way Of Mowing For A Perfect Lawn
We recommend that you set your mower to a higher setting. Mowing to 2 1/2 to 3 inches has several advantages when looking to create the perfect lawn.
The longer grass blades will have more leaf area, so the lawn will absorb more energy from the sun.
That taller grass will shade the soil, helping it to hold on to the moisture and keeping weeds from getting enough sun to become established.
Frequent mowing will keep the lawn looking great, and leave the short clippings so that they can return their nutrients to the soil.
Using a hand mower also has all of the benefits of jogging while beautifying your home!
Keep These Concepts In Mind To Create The Perfect Lawn
Measure how much water your sprinkler system delivers in a set period of time versus how much rain has fallen on your lawn over the past week. Use an empty tuna can and a rain gauge for this experiment.
Occasional deep watering is more beneficial to your grass’s root system than frequent watering.
Monitor the sprinkler rate to avoid a runoff. Turn off the water before puddles form and allow it to soak in.
A healthy perfect lawn with thick, grass will naturally drive out weeds.
Grass mowed to 2 1/2” to 3” while shading the soil, will help to retain moisture and retard weed growth.
Remember that your lawn lives outside, in the weather, and that a healthy, inviting and perfect lawn will encourage your family to spend more time out there, too.
Taking care of your lawn is easy and enjoyable when you are armed with these simple tips and the rainfall and weather information gleaned from your home weather station.
For more information on weather gadgets for the home gardener check out these other articles
Q: What did the grape say when summer came to an end? A: He didn’t say anything. He just let out a little wine.
Sometimes, in the controversial world of adult beverages, the community of wine lovers is often associated with a good deal of snobbery. In a world where “luxury wines” can fetch $50-$100 a bottle and $200 bottles are not unheard of, some snobbery is to be expected, but it is also unfortunate. However, did you know that one factor that is not looked at is how weather affects wine lovers.
In the age of antiquity, wine was more associated with happiness than a snobbish fetish. Even today, you will be able to find some surprisingly good (even great) wines in the aisles of your local mega-mart which can be enjoyed responsibly without breaking the family budget. With weather patterns changing and many more vineyards around the world the ability to predict weather has become important for wine lovers the world over!
Fun The Old Fashioned Way
The dawn of civilization occurred when mankind moved from a wandering, hunter/gatherer existence and began settling in a fixed location to raise crops. These crops are generally associated with bread making and raising livestock. However, there is a growing belief in the anthropological community that the earliest villages were more likely to be the home of beer and winemakers than bakers.
Wine making is a natural process which will occur whenever fruit juice is kept under the right conditions. A yeast spore may land and create a colony which consumes the sugar in the juice.
The byproducts of this process (called fermentation) are carbon dioxide gas and alcohol.
The effects of alcohol appeared to be a sort of magic to ancient man. So, it is natural that he would be willing to give up the freedom of a nomad life to make more wine – and enjoy it’s effects!
Natures Weather Impacts Wine Lovers
Alcohol can also be produced by fermenting the sugars in cereal grains to make beer through a process called brewing. Brewing is a more technical process and, usually, has faster and more reliable results.
Both methods will result in a tasty beverage with intoxicating effects, but some people are beer people and others are wine people.
There is a story in the craft brewing community about a monastery in Belgium. The monks sent several bottles of their spring brew to the Holy See in Rome to find out if it would be alright for them to drink during Lent. The wine-drinking Romans opened a bottle and took a taste. They determined that the monks must be drinking the stuff as a form of penance, and gave their blessing.
Any fruit juice which is acidic, but not too acidic, can become wine. If it has the right balance of tannins and nutritive salts to support yeast growth, and enough sugar it will work. However, the perfect combination of all these seems to occur naturally in grape juice.
One of the first things that winemakers of antiquity did was select the varieties of grape which were the hardiest for their area. They also had to look for varieties that formed the most sugar during the growing season. This means that weather for wine lovers has always been a factor that has been monitored closely.
Growing conditions change from year to year, of course, depending upon the weather patterns occurring. In modern times, this has resulted in the what we call vintage years.
Although creating a fine wine is a time-consuming process, a certain vintage is not preferable just because it is old. In fact, if a certain year had an especially long and mild summer, these conditions allow the grapes to be even more sweet and healthy. Most times, this means that year’s vintage will be considered more valuable because the wine will have more body.
A concept almost as important than vintage to marketing wine is terroir. Each region of the world where grapes are grown is subject to greater or lesser differences in climate, soil, length of daylight, and farming practices.
Terroir is a French term which shares its root with territory or land. The elements of terroir combine to influence the taste of wines from different regions.
It is difficult to say whether the terroir of one region is, in fact, superior to that of another, but the farmers and winemakers from that region would like you to believe it is.
Weather For Wine Lovers Or Not…
Location, soil conditions, elevation and climate do not really change for an individual vineyard from year to year, but weather for wine lovers can vary a great deal.
Some who are new to the concept of terroir might be tempted to point out that climate and weather are basically the same things. However, climate is a description of the conditions a region expects over a long period of time, along with other factors. Weather is what is happening at any particular moment.
In other words, climate is what you expect and weather is what you get.
One of the best ways to appreciate the weather for wine lovers in a different region is to learn to understand the weather conditions where you live. The conditions you see outside your living room window will vary according to whether you live in the middle of the continent or near the shore of an ocean, whether you are in the middle of a broad plain or near a tall mountain range, or whether you are in the Northern States or closer to the Southern border. These are climatic considerations, of course, but they affect the weather in your region every day.
A personal weather station is a terrific way to begin understanding the weather in your area, and that will lead to a greater understanding of how weather works for wine lovers in the various wine regions of the world.
The fact that you and your neighbors experienced an early frost this year may not seem related to late season conditions in the Napa Valley. But, understanding your local weather for wine lovers is a key to appreciating the terroir of another area.
Observing how conditions change from day to day puts your finger on the pulse of Mother Nature. It is also a key to appreciating the mysterious way the natural world works. Best of all, these systems are easy to install and use, so you can begin learning almost immediately.
Not Sunny All the Time
Most wine regions are known for their long, mild, and sunny weather conditions. Indeed, one of the most interesting types of wine is the result of the growing season coming to a sudden close.
The German term is eiswein or ‘ice wine’. It is in the wine maker’s best interest to wait until the grapes have reached their peak maturity, when they are the sweetest before harvesting and pressing. Thus, they ensure the maximum sugar in the grapes. In some Northern regions, an early frost may set in before the grapes are harvested. So, rather than ruining the vintage, the freezing of the grapes concentrates the sugars, resulting in a sweet dessert wine.
The bottling of an eiswein is a rather special event as the vintner expects to bottle a normal vintage. If he plans for an eiswein harvest, he runs the risk of the grapes rotting on the vine. Eiswein may not be on the radar for traditional wine snobs, but it is a special enough treat to be aware of and just one of the ways that the weather rewards wine lovers.
I think it is fairly obvious from what you have read above that weather and wine lovers enjoy a special relationship.
Bad weather conditions can ruin a grape season. On the other hand, a good season can not only produce a bumper crop, special conditions can mean rare and vintage years. Weather for wine lovers is important as it allows wine enthusiasts to watch which growers are experiencing unusual weather patterns. This can mean some very special editions to enjoy!
There are many wines that sell for $50-$100 or even more per bottle. But, there are plenty of very good inexpensive wines available if you are willing to learn how to find them.
Many anthropologists believe that the dawn of agriculture was not so that early man could make bread. It occurred so that he could make beer and wine!
Wine is an agricultural product which is made by the natural process of fermenting fruit juices, usually grape.
Since it is an agricultural product, the weather from year to year has an important impact on the quality of the wine in the bottle.
Terroir is the concept that products grown in certain regions are unique due to differences in climate, soil conditions, elevation, latitude, and weather.
Understanding weather is important to understanding terroir because it has such a huge influence on wine.
Using a personal weather station at home will help you to understand weather in the great wine-growing regions.
Eiswein is a special product which can only be made in years when an early frost freezes the grapes and concentrates their sugars.
The thought of a yard full of bamboo can make some gardeners want to run for the hills as certain bamboo varieties can be invasive. They can end up taking over your yard and crowding out native plants.
However, that’s no reason to avoid bamboo planting. With the right knowledge, tools and experience, you too, can create a beautiful bamboo garden right in your own backyard!
We’ve put together a full guide to growing and maintaining your own bamboo backyard. And, for those of you with little time, we’ve condensed a quick guide at the start too!
Quick Guide To Create And Maintain Your Bamboo Backyard
Getting started with bamboo doesn’t need to be a huge task. If you’re new to the plant, here’s some quick facts you need to know!
Bamboo doesn’t come from the tree family, it’s actually a type of grass. There are nearly 500 different species of bamboo, split into two main types – running and clumping bamboo.
Running bamboo is likely to be the type you want for a backyard. It’s characterized by a long stem with a tidy amount of leaves at the top.
Clumping bamboo can become wild and uncontrolled very easily – looking more like a bush that the tall quaint plants we’re used too seeing!
You don’t need to be somewhere hot to grow bamboo. With species such as Yellow Grove and Panda, bamboo are not only able to survive, but can flourish below 0 degree Fahrenheit.
Bamboo (especially running bamboo) is super easy to maintain. By incorporating a good schedule of watering, fertilizing and thinning you can easily create a perfect bamboo backyard that your friends and neighbors will envy.
Top 3 Bamboo Backyard Products
Whether you’re just starting to plant, or you’ve got a full bamboo backyard to maintain, check out some of the top rated tools for keeping your bamboo in top condition!
Depending on your type of Bamboo, root spread can be both invasive and potentially dangerous. This 60mm DeepRoot will stop any roots spreading where you don’t want them, protecting your entire garden!
TaborTools offers a long range, high power lopper, perfect for keeping your bamboo perfectly thinned and trimmed! Don’t let overgrowth ruin your perfect garden.
If you want tall, healthy bamboo, try the Green Green fertilizer. Just a few drops will promote the growth of all flowers and plants and is perfect for bamboo varieties.
Our Detailed Guide To Creating And Maintaining A Bamboo Backyard
If you’ve mastered our quick guide and want some thorough knowledge of creating and maintaining amazing bamboo, jump into our detailed guide below!
Bamboo Backyard 101
Bamboo trees are actually not trees at all; bamboo is a type of grass. Native bamboo plants grow prolifically in South and Central America and Asia.
Hohwever, many people don’t realize that some species of bamboo are native to the U.S. Science Daily reports that the newest species of North American bamboo was discovered in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina in this century. This grass acts like a bamboo tree, dropping its leaves in the fall. Other bamboo species have their own unique characteristics.
Bamboo trees are actually not trees at all; bamboo is a type of grass.
The Spruce explains that one of the easiest ways to identify different types of bamboo is by its reproductive tendencies. Let’s take a look at the two main types: Clumping and Running.
Clumping bamboo is the less invasive version of the plant. In other words, this is the type of bamboo that politely stays where you plant it – it’s the bamboo you want!
Clumping bamboo is a slow spreader so it only requires little maintenance. Bamboo Garden says that the roots develop in a U-shape. Underground, the buds will turn upward, creating new shoots next to the existing ones.
They’ll only spread outward a few inches each year, but they’ll gain about 1 to 2 feet in height.
Running bamboo is the unrestrained party animal of the species. It won’t stay put! Running bamboo expands by sending out rhizomes. This horizontal root system allows the plant to spread quickly.
Running bamboo is considered to be incredibly invasive. You will want to avoid planting this type of bamboo, especially if you don’t want dirty looks from your neighbours.
Running bamboo grows 3 to 5 feet every year but, of course, with its invasive nature it can spread just as far, if not further, horizontally.
Can I Grow A Bamboo Backyard?
You don’t need to live in a tropical rainforest to grow and create a bamboo backyard. Mother Earth News says that most bamboo types grow well in the southern United States, along the Gulf Coast from Georgia to Texas and on the West Coast. However, many people grow the ornamental variety throughout the entire country.
What Type Of Bamboo Should You Buy?
The type of bamboo that you plant depends on, your climate, where you’ll be planting the bamboo and how you want it to look.
When you find a plant that you might want to grow in your garden, you can cross-reference it with one of these. The table lists the botanical names as well as the common names that you might see in a catalog.
According to Bamboo Inspiration, the hardiest varieties of clumping bamboo are Thamnocalamus and Fargesia, also known as Panda bamboo.
SF Gate says that the way to find the best type of bamboo for your region is to pinpoint the lowest winter temperature. Keep an eye on the temperature in your area with a weather station to acurately know the weather patterns in your area.
It can be a real bummer to see the bamboo that you planted in the summer die off because it couldn’t handle your cold winters. Use other weather gadgets to help you purchase the ideal plants for your environment. One instrument that you will need is a top Rain Gauge.
This tool allow you to measure the rainfall amounts and know how much water you are using for your bamboo backyard – here’s some of our favourites!
Yellow Groove bamboo – Can survive temperatures of -5 degrees Fahrenheit.
Panda bamboo – Can withstand temperatures as cold as -25 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bissetii Dwarf bamboo – Flourishes in zones that see winter temperatures of -10 degrees Fahrenheit.
Blue Fountain bamboo – Hardy to temperatures of -20 degrees Fahrenheit.
Chinese Timber Bamboo – This impressive bamboo grows to 35 to 70 feet and survives temperatures as low as -5 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bamboo Plans for Warm Climates
Thamnocalamus tessellatus – Recommended for zones 7 through 9, high winds and sunny spots. Leaves show damage at temperatures below 12 degrees Fahrenheit. Grows to 12 to 15 feet.
Bambusa multiplex – Grows best in zones 8 through 11 and grows in semi-shade. Doesn’t thrive in temperatures below 15 degrees Fahrenheit. Grows to 14 to 16 feet.
Golden Goddess – Hardy in zones 8 through 10 and enjoys partial to full sun. Grows to 6 to 8 feet tall and canes are slender and graceful.
Black bamboo – Recommended from zones 7 through 10 and hardy to 5 degrees Fahrenheit. Grows to about 25 feet tall. Culms turn black within about three years.
Bamboo Gardening – Garden Design Ideas For Bamboo
Asian landscaping relies heavily on bamboo in the backyard for privacy and interest. Bamboo landscaping is convenient because you don’t need a lot of plants to fill an area. Fast-growing bamboo fills in the spaces of even large backyards within a few years. Therefore, it’s the perfect plant for people who love a beautiful garden but don’t want to do a lot of work.
Creating A Bamboo Sanctuary
What’s more luxurious than relaxing in a sanctuary surrounded by giant bamboo? Plant a grove, and then cut a path through the center to give yourself a refuge from the chaos of daily life. According to Bamboo Botanicals, Chinese Timber bamboo is ideal for creating a grove. Just make sure that you have a large enough property to support its spreading behavior.
Using Bamboo As A Hedge
You can make your yard stand out from your neighbors’ properties by using bamboo instead of traditional hedge plants. Bamboo hedges should have low leaves that branch out of the canes. Bambusa multiplex is also called Hedge bamboo for its ability to create a leafy border. Golden Goddess can also be pruned in a way to create your hedge shape.
Prune bamboo hedges once a year. Shape them every spring or summer, when the culms have reached full height. Once the plant has matured, cut new growth at ground level if you start to see that it’s thicker than the existing growth. This will help you maintain a shapely hedge. If you really want to play around with your garden, treat your bamboo like a topiary, snipping it into unique shapes.
The same type of bamboo that works well as a hedge can make beautiful bushes. In colder climates, bamboo bushes are grown as ornamental grass and cut down in the winter. Use a bamboo bush to anchor a garden or provide a backdrop for a koi pond.
Small Bamboo Plants
If you’re just stumbling into the world of bamboo growing, you might be more comfortable buying bamboo plants for indoor use. Dengarden explains that Dracena sanderiana, or Lucky bamboo, can even bring you good fortune. How’s that for getting started on the right foot with bamboo gardening? Although it’s not a true bamboo plant, it has the same exotic style. Lucky bamboo is easy to grow in potting soil or a vase of pebbles.
Other plants that look like bamboo can be grown in containers. The Bamboo Palm has stripes on the stems that look like bamboo nodes, according to BigPlants. Buying bamboo for containers is just like purchasing it for your garden. You’ll need to understand the amount of water and sunlight that will be available to choose the right type.
How tall can bamboo grow in a container? That also depends on the species. Bamboo Botanicals says that running bamboo shoots up more quickly. However, it will also get root-bound sooner than clumping bamboo that’s planted in a pot.
Creating A Bamboo Fence
A living fence can shield your property from prying eyes. Running bamboo creates a more traditional screen than clumping bamboo. However, if you don’t create an underground barrier to prevent this plant from spreading, you’ll probably need more than a bamboo fence to keep your neighbors from giving you the evil eye.
How To Plant Bamboo
You can purchase bare-root or container bamboo. Bare-root bamboo tends to be less expensive, according to HGTV, and you can order it online. It should be planted as soon as it arrives. Bare-root bamboo will come with a few stalks attached to a clump of roots.
Steps For Planting Bare-Root Bamboo:
Dig a hole big enough to accommodate the entire mass.
Loosen the soil at the base of the hole, and fill it with manure or compost.
Put the root ball in the hole, making sure that the soil marks on the bamboo stalks are at ground level.
Hold the bamboo upright as you gently work the loose soil into and around the roots.
Add loamy garden soil to the hole, layering it with water.
When the soil has reached ground level, pack it gently between the bamboo stalks. Firm it down, and water it again.
Planting Bamboo From Containers
Choose bamboo with large roots that are cramped in the container. SFGate says that these are the best bamboo plants if you want fast growth.
Dig a hole that will hold the root ball. Make sure that the top of the root ball will be level with the ground after planting.
Water the bamboo frequently. Check out the section on how to take care of bamboo for more information about watering.
Installing Barriers For Running Bamboo
If you’re wondering how to grow bamboo without letting it spread into your patio, pool or neighbor’s yard, you’ll need to know how to create a rhizome barrier. According to Landscape Advisor, you can use high-density polyethylene to prevent bamboo roots from running. Dig a trench that’s as deep as the barrier is wide. Allow the barrier to stick up a few inches above the surface of the soil. Check the ground periodically for wayward rhizomes, and pull them out or cut them back if you find them spreading.
How To Care For Bamboo Plants
Do you have a black thumb? Bamboo will make you look like a gardening expert. Bamboo plant care is relatively easy, and you reap great rewards from its impressive looks.
Caring for bamboo involves some intensive TLC when plants are new, but you can sit back and relax under their exotic canes as they mature. Water bamboo seedlings frequently after planting to support their rapid growth. You’ll need to water young bamboo plants three to four times a week in hot or windy weather and twice a week when it’s mild.
If your plant would fit in a 5-gallon pot, give it half a gallon of water each time you water it. Give a larger plant one gallon of water.
Bamboo shouldn’t sit in a boggy area. Overwatering and flooding can be just as dangerous to new plants as dehydrated soil.
To keep your bamboo looking attractive, fertilize it two or three times a year. Because bamboo is a grass, the best fertilizer for bamboo is high-nitrogen lawn food.
Bamboo Garden recommends applying bamboo food once in early spring and again in the summer.
Bamboo plant care involves thinning it out as needed. We’ve already discussed how to prune bamboo into hedges or topiaries. You can also thin out running and clumping types of bamboo plants to give them an airy appearance. All you have to do is cut down the stalks that are getting in the way of your perfect view.
Any dead, weak or unsightly culms should be cut at ground level. Thin your bamboo in the fall, when it’s not actively growing.
One of the best things about growing bamboo is that you can use mature canes for DIY projects around the home and garden. After removing older growth, use it to build a bamboo trellis, a fence or garden hoops. People with large bamboo groves cut giant bamboo into smaller pieces to use as borders, picture frames and building material. If nothing else, a bamboo backyard will help spark your creativity.
Using Garden Gadgets For Bamboo Gardening
Rain, sun and wind can affect your bamboo backyard, especially when it’s in the early stages. You don’t have to guess what the weather is going to do when you have data at your fingertips.
A weather station tells you the temperature, humidity, wind speed and rainfall, making it easy for you to decide whether it’s time to water or fertilize your plants.
Use a portable wind meter to determine if strong breezes necessitate more frequent watering and a simple rain gauge to determine the amount of rainfall.
Be wary of trying to grow bamboo from seeds as it’s really tough to do. Lewis Bamboo explains that nurseries may only see a few sprouts after planting thousands of seeds.
If you want a successful bamboo garden in your backyard, you must plan it out carefully. Once the plants are set, you won’t have to do much more than water them and enjoy the natural opulence that they bring to your yard.
Weather-related books are among the best gifts you can give to a weather geek. Although most of them already know how weather works, they will love to have it for their collection or additional knowledge.
Books about the weather can also be an excellent present for yourself if you want to learn how weather works.Here’re some books about weather.
In a realistic sequence, Sagan reveals a precious blue world inhabited by a life form that is just beginning to discover its own identity and to venture into the vast ocean of space.
Cosmos retraces the fourteen billion years of cosmic evolution that have transformed matter into consciousness, exploring such topics as the origin of life, the human brain, Egyptian hieroglyphics, spacecraft missions, the death of the Sun, the evolution of galaxies, and the forces and individuals who helped to shape modern science.
This is a great book for newbies to understand how the universe started before learning how weather works and the physics behind it.
Weather by Seymour Simon is an essential book about the weather that’s perfect for newbies. You will learn about the weather and enjoy learning it at the same time.
This book about the weather can be used to teach children too.
Ever wonder what makes the wind blow? Or where clouds come from, or rain? Every day you experience weather, but why do you experience the weather you do? Explore weather, a subject that changes every day, with award-winning science writer Seymour Simon.
Weather: A Concise Introduction is an easy-going and beautifully illustrated book about weather covering the foundations of meteorology in a brief, clear, and engaging manner. It is tailored to provide readers with a strong foundation in the processes taking place in the atmosphere.
This book features a single case study of a mid-latitude cyclone which is referred to throughout the whole book to explain the basic principles driving atmospheric activities.
This is an ideal textbook for university students because the progression of the topics will help you understand meteorology better.
Weather For Dummies is a book about weather, written by the award-winning science writer John D. Cox. He brought the science of meteorology down to earth with the help of cool maps and charts and extraordinary photographs of weather conditions.
What’s going on up there when the rain falls, when the wind blows, when the clouds roll in, or when the lightning flashes? How do hurricanes arise, and how do tornadoes form? Why do seasonal conditions sometimes vary so much from one year to the next? These are some of the exciting things you will learn as you read this great book about weather.
Eric Sloane’s Weather Book is a book about the weather that explains the whys and wherefores of climate and weather forecasting — and does it interestingly.
With humor and common sense shining through in a book that’s also lively and informative, Sloane shows readers how to predict the weather by “reading” such natural phenomena as winds, skies, and animal sounds.
This beautifully illustrated and practical treasure trove of climate lore will enlighten outdoorsmen, farmers, sailors, and anyone else who has ever wondered what a massive halo around the moon means, why birds “sit it out” before a storm, and whether or not to take an umbrella when leaving the house.
This book about the weather has an integrated approach, avoiding many complicated equations. This book gives a great overview of weather with accompanying videos and interactive learning tools to enhance the learning experience.
This book illustrates meteorology and climatology using everyday occurrences and inspired technology tutorials to engage students in learning about atmospheric processes and patterns.
It is easy to understand why many people would list autumn weather as their favorite time of the year. Although by outward appearance, Nature seems to simply be preparing for the big sleep of winter, there is a lot going on during the autumn months.
In agricultural communities, autumn is the season of harvest.
The crops have been tended since planting in the spring, irrigated and cultivated through the long, hot summer, and it is finally time to enjoy the fruits of those long months of labor. Many of the great fall festivals, like Oktoberfest in its many forms and the American Traditional Thanksgiving Feast, are harvest celebrations.
On the sporting front, all those summer evenings spent cheering for your favorite baseball club eventually climax in the Fall Classic of the World Series, and Football stretches from the sweaty, dehydrating workouts of training camp in the late summer, through the autumn weekends, and will have its dramatic wrap-up during the first cold of the early winter. For outdoor sportsmen, the wildlife who gave birth has had all winter to grow healthy on the abundant plant growth through the summer months and is now at its fattest and healthiest stage of the year. Most deer species go into the rut during this time of year when the healthiest males are best equipped to pass their genes to the next generation. This time of year while the whole game animal population is at its peak of health when hunters go into the woods, hoping to harvest a freezer full of meat for the lean months ahead.
What Causes Fall?
Autumn is a time of transition between the warmth of summer and the cold of winter, which makes the concept of Indian Summer all the more precious. European immigrants named the phenomena for the North American Indians whose land they were settling, elsewhere it is known as “altweibersommer” (Old women’s summer), or “gypsy summer”. Although The Old Farmer’s Almanac has tried to tie Indian Summer to the calendar, saying “If All Saints’ (November 1) brings out winter, St. Martin’s (November 11) brings out Indian summer,” the condition is better described as a period of warm weather which occurs after the first hard frost of the season. While the killing frost signals the end of the gardening season, it also triggers a number of other seasonal biological changes.
The drop in daily average temperature we notice in the autumn is a result of shortening daylight hours. This occurs because the axes upon which the planet Earth spins is set at an angle relative to the path the planet travels around the Sun. At the Winter and Summer Solstice, the South pole (during the Northern winter) or the North Pole (during Northern Summer) is pointed directly at the Sun at a tilt of 23°. At the Spring and Autumnal Equinox, the tilt is perpendicular to the Sun.
The tilt away from the Sun as the Sun moves from Autumnal Equinox to the Winter Solstice is the reason for the shorter daylight hours and shorter days also mean that the Sun does not have as long to heat the Earth’s surface.
Many people say that the Equinox is the beginning of autumn, but when you begin to see the signs of fall will depend on upon conditions in your local region. The days actually begin getting shorter after the summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, and when you see the signs of autumn will depend upon how far North you are as well as your elevation above sea level.
Winter is Coming
One important phenomenon associated with the change in the color of fall foliage. Although many plants simply die with the coming of winter, deciduous trees have evolved a strategy dropping their leaves and going into a dormant state until spring. When the spring brings more sunlight and higher temperatures, new leaves filled with chlorophyll provide energy for the tree to flower, grow fruit and seeds, as well as woody growth as the tree increases in size. At the end of the growing season, rather than spend the energy to keep the leaves alive the tree simply lets them die and fall off, knowing that newer, stronger ones will grow in the spring.
The spectacular yellow and orange hues we associate with autumn are actually present in the leaf all the time in the form of carotenoids. These compounds are masked by the chlorophyll. The deep green of the chlorophyll is used to convert water and carbon dioxide into the simple sugars which feed the tree. As daily temperatures drop, the veins in the leaf which carry water to the chlorophyll are blocked, and as the green fades, the carotenoids become visible. Other colors, such as reds and purples, occur as the sugar making process, which requires a great deal of phosphate, breaks down. As the phosphates break down, pigments called anthocyanins are formed. These are the same pigments which are present in cranberries, red apples, blueberries, cherries, strawberries, and plums.
One commonly accepted sign that autumn is coming to a close and that winter is about to arrive is the first heavy snowfall of the season. Like the other signs of autumn we have discussed, snowfall depends upon several factors, including how far north a certain location is, the altitude, and the weather patterns that particular year. Snow is made up of individual crystals of frozen water and most precipitation throughout the year begins as snowflakes.
When water vapor in the air rises through the atmosphere, the vapor and the air carrying it cool with the increase in altitude. When the temperature drops to the dew point, the moisture begins to condense on dust particles carried in the air.
As the air continues to rise and the temperature drops further, the super-cooled moisture clinging to the particle begins to crystallize. The crystalline structure of the snowflake means it will be relatively light for the space it occupies, but eventually, enough ice will form that the flake will begin to fall towards earth.
For most of the year, as the flakes fall they go through warmer air causing the ice crystals to melt. The melted-crystal will usually continue to fall as liquid rain, although during a thunderstorm it may be blown several times back to a higher altitude where it refreezes to form a hailstone. During the late autumn and winter months, the entire air column is often cold enough that the frozen water remains in crystalline form until it reaches the ground. Since the crystal is so light compared to a denser water drop, the flakes may be blown by the wind into drifts. The longer snow sits on the ground without melting, the denser it becomes as the crystal is crushed by its own weight and the weight of the snowflakes on top of it.
The presence of snow contributes to the coldness of the territory since the energy from the sun during the shorter daylight hours in late autumn weather is reflected away rather than being absorbed by the underlying ground.
Travel in the months between the heat of summer and the bitter cold of winter has its own cautions and considerations. Motorists especially need to keep in mind the shortening of daylight hours. Twilight comes earlier, and one of the effects of Indian Summer is an increased haziness due to high atmospheric pressures and the lack of wind. This can play havoc on a driver’s visibility.
As the days get shorter the ground absorbs less heat from the sun, and overnight temperatures can drop to the dew point earlier, and continue to fall until the frost point. Road surfaces which have not been cleaned may have a slight covering of oil and dirt, and combined with frosty conditions can make traction questionable in the early morning hours. Crossing mountain passes this time of year calls for extra caution and planning because of the danger of a sudden snowstorm.
For centuries of human existence, autumn has signaled the need to be prepared for the coming winter. Crops had to be harvested and stored, hunters needed to gather and process meat, and individual homesteads needed put in a supply of firewood to get through the winter. The same attitude should be part of an autumn traveler’s plans. During the hour before and after sunset, try to stay off the road when visibility is at its worst. Keep supplies in your vehicle in case you become stuck, in fact, carrying some extra snacks is a good idea for air travel as well because a late autumn blizzard at one hub can affect the entire system.
Everyone Talks About the Autumn Weather…
The dog days of summer inevitably give way to the darkness and cold of winter, just as winter fades into the glorious rebirth of spring. A terrific way to appreciate the progression of the seasons is to observe your local conditions using weather measuring instruments. Mounting a weather station sensor suite outside is a simple addition to your other autumn weather chores, and being able to track daily conditions as they change can be a lot of fun. As winter approaches and you are better used to watching conditions, you will be better able to predict weather changes which will affect your family and their safety. You can even make your station part of a personal weather station network which will help to predict storm patterns and tornado conditions.
A home weather station like the AcuRite 01024 Pro Weather Station system gives your family scientific grade instrumentation which can be connected to your PC and the Internet. The sensor suite is relatively simple to set up, and wireless connection to the base station means that it will be effortless to connect. The Oregon Scientific WMR200a is a more expensive yet a classic, versatile and expandable system which can grow with your interest in weather monitoring. The separate sensors mean more complexity in setup but allows for easier maintenance and more accuracy in readings.
Autumn means shorter days, cooling temperatures, harvest, hunting, and football.
The phenomenon of Indian Summer is a period of warm weather after the first killing frost of the year.
The seasonal temperature drop is due to the shorter days which are the result of the Northern Hemisphere being tilted away from the sun.
The spectacular display of fall foliage results from tree leaves ceasing the production of chlorophyll. The tree is preparing to enter a dormant state during the winter months, and will not need the energy provided by the leaves until spring.
Snowflakes form in clouds year-round, but during late autumn weather and winter, the air at ground level is cool enough for the flake to remain frozen until it hits the ground rather than melting to become a raindrop.
During the autumn weather months, travelers need to be prepared for shorter daylight hours, icy road conditions, and rapidly changing weather conditions.
Despite the cooling temperatures and less predictable conditions, it is easy to understand why autumn weather is the favorite part of the year for many people. Being able to monitor weather conditions using a home weather station can add to your safety and appreciation of nature throughout the year.
If you’re an experienced sailor, you’ll know that the weather is no joke. It’s something that you need to take seriously, and be equipped with the right tools to weather any storms (literally) that come your way.
Professional seafarers have depended on various types of weather-related technology for centuries, but they’ve perhaps only become more prominent in the recreational market in the past few decades. Modern electronics have made various weather instruments for smaller boats that are reliable and compact enough to be mounted on a sailboat or sailing yacht.
Sailboat Weather Stations
As we get into these product recommendations, I should start by saying that although I know a thing or two about weather stations, I am not an expert sailor by any means. So, these are solid, highly recommended portable products researched as best as possible, but do take a minute to do your own research & read reviews on Amazon too.
Real-Time Weather Conditions: Receive readings for indoor and outdoor temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, barometric pressure, and rainfall totals
Illuminated LCD Display: Easy-to-read display with backlight and auto-dim feature that also shows the current time, making for a perfect weather clock combination for your kitchen, office, home, or weather center
Enhanced Wi-Fi Connectivity to Weather Underground: Easily connect to Weather Underground to share your weather data with more than 250,000 personal weather stations across the globe
The first step in avoiding the dangers of heavy weather is being aware of what is going on locally in the atmosphere. Accurate weather measuring instruments allows the skipper to track weather conditions and quantify when and how fast they change.
Many crafts will have both a wind vane to read wind direction and an anemometer for wind speed. & other metrics.
For an anemometer, this handheld wireless option from BTMETER is our top choice. It covers the basics very well at an affordable price. Wind speed can be measured in your choice of unit, including knots. Highly accurate, connects to your phone via bluetooth, and solid power-saving features.
As well as the basics, full-featured portable wind meters like this one can include important data to display wind chill, which is critical for avoiding hypothermia.
The simplest way to determine wind direction is to face directly into the wind until you feel the same amount of wind on both cheeks, then if you can, identify a landmark directly in front of you. Use your compass to determine the bearing of the landmark, or take a compass reading of the wind direction. Most portable wind meters will not have a wind vane, but some of the more sophisticated models will include an internal compass which can be used in a similar fashion to the “wind on both cheeks” method.
Accurate temperature readings may not seem critical to a recreational sailor. If it gets chilly, personal comfort dictates putting on a jacket or foul weather gear. In actual practice, with the fun of being on the water and the excitement of new sensations, some crew members may ignore the need for donning weather protective clothing until it is too late. Given the wet and windy conditions of sailing, hypothermia, an uncontrolled drop in body temperature is a constant danger.
A sudden drop in air temperature may precede a sudden change in atmospheric conditions, signalling a quickly developing storm.
Thermometers are generally small and rugged enough to be mounted in a small cockpit, but if the instrument is mounted improperly the readings could be false due to direct sun.
Full-featured portable wind meters like the WeatherHawk SM-19 or the WM-350 will include sensors and software to display wind chill data, which is critical for avoiding hypothermia.
The barometer is considered the single most valuable weather prediction instrument carried on board. Current barometric readings will provide a picture of what the atmosphere is doing, but the change and rate of change in pressure readings are even more informative.
A quickly falling barometer indicates an imminent storm. A bulkhead mounted mechanical aneroid barometer requires no power, although a salty marine environment may negatively affect the internal gear mechanism. Handheld barometers are often too fragile to be practical. An electronic barometer such as the one featured in a handheld weather station is again the most favorable solution for the small boat sailor. Portable wind meters such as WeatherHawk WM-350 and SM-28 include the option for barometric readings.
Load Up and Set Sail
Life On The Water
The basics of sailing, learning how to launch your boat, raise and lower the sails, and make it go where you want it to go can pretty much be learned over the space of a weekend, but you will spend the rest of your life perfecting those skills. There are sailing clubs just about everywhere you can find enough water to sail on, and most factory built boats will have a class organization where you will find plenty of friends willing to teach you the basics of sailing.
It always feels great to have the faster boat while it can be humbling to wring all the performance you can out of your boat and still come up short, but racing, no matter how informal, is a great way to boost your boat handling skills. It is important for the skipper to share those skills with his crew, as well. With the limited space aboard a trailer sailor, it is good if everyone can pull their weight, and it is great fun to watch your kids learning how to handle the boat. Many skippers will tell you that the proudest moment of their sailing career was the first time they sat back with a drink while their kids took the helm and navigated across the bay.
With modern weather services both broadcast and over the Internet, a trailer sailor can usually choose the best conditions to go sailing in. If the skipper knows that it is going to be a stormy day, better to leave the boat on the trailer and take in a ball game. Keep in mind that broadcast or Internet forecasts are going to cover a wide area, and what the small boat sailor needs to know is the conditions where his boat is sailing right now.
A larger craft will have plenty of room full function weather instrumentation, but a trailer sailor usually will not have the dashboard space for all the weather gizmos that a skipper desires. While there is no replacement for the Mk1Mod0 Human Eyeball, there are a number of portable electronic devices which can fill the void.
Introducing the Trailer Sailor
There is a saying in the boating world that the fun of boat ownership is inversely proportional to the size of the vessel. In other words, people who own small or very small boats tend to enjoy them a lot more than owners of big boats. A sailboat which is small enough to live on a trailer in your driveway represents an exceptional value.
The advantages of a small boat are almost too many to number. Maintaining a large boat is a lot of work. A small boat still needs maintenance, of course, but since it is a lot smaller, the work can be done in an hour or two instead of being a day-long or multi-day project. A big boat needs to be kept in the water, but a small boat skipper is likely to use his boat more often because it is so much simpler (and cheaper) for him to get it out on the water.
If a small sailboat does have an engine, it will be a very small and simple one which sips fuel. A larger yacht is often totally dependent upon firing up the “stinkpot” to get in and out of the harbor, not to mention relying on it to get home on schedule. It is easier to learn to operate a small boat than a large one (however, almost everything that you will learn on a small craft will be directly transferable to a larger vessel if you do decide to move up).
The most obvious advantage to a larger boat over a tiny one is safety and crew comfort, but even this can be an illusion. Nautical literature is filled with tales of very small vessels surviving very large storms (including hurricanes) if the crew is able to simply button down and ride it out. It is rarely comfortable to ride out a storm in a small craft, but your boat will be a lot tougher than you suspect.
There are a few basic conditions that every skipper will need to keep track of. These will include wind speed and direction, air temperature, humidity, and barometric pressure. These conditions are recorded and reported by commercial and government agencies around the world, so a means of receiving these reports can be helpful to supplement local observation.
Limitations of Trailer Sailors?
Some people refuse to consider a small boat because they are afraid it will be of limited use. Remember, the smaller the boat, the more fun it is to own! Some very tiny boats, including many which fit our definition of trailer sailors, have made incredible voyages, including several circumnavigations and exploring everywhere from the fjords of Greenland to the bays of Antarctica and everywhere in between.
A mooring kept yacht would seem to have a greater range, but in fact, the bigger boat is more or less trapped in a single body of water. Trailer sailors have the option of going “55 mph to windward” any time they want to on their trailer.
Even if your home waters are an inland reservoir, with a little planning and a well-timed vacation, your family could be cruising the Gulf Coast, the many islands of Puget Sound, the rocky headlands of New England, the sunny shores of the Sea of Cortez, the Great Lakes, or the Florida Keys.
As long as the water is deep enough for your keel and there is a road leading to it, you can sail your trailer sailor there!
The Life You Save May Be Your Own…
Although it is fun to dream and great to know that your boat would be up to an epic adventure, most of our trailer sailor adventures will be more limited in scope. Whether you are braving “the Roaring Forties” around Cape Horn or spending a lazy afternoon tacking back and forth across your local reservoir, things going wrong can be just as deadly for you and your crew. Small craft safety comes down to the same three elements:
Maintaining your vessel and its equipment.
Knowing how to operate it in a prudent manner.
Being aware of the conditions you are sailing in by having instruments for small boats on board.
As we mentioned earlier, taking care of a trailer sailor is a much simpler proposition than living with a larger yacht. Since the boat lives in your driveway, you are able to take care of things yourself and at your own pace. Even if you are not very mechanically inclined there are plenty of tutorials and forums on the Internet where you can learn everything you need to know about taking care of your boat.
The trailer sailor is small enough that learning its systems is very simple. In fact, building a small sailboat yourself is not that hard. It is a time-consuming project, and over the span of the project, most builders find that they haven’t really saved any money over buying a factory-built boat.
However, by spending a few hours a week on the project, spaced over several months, the amateur builder finds that he has a better built and more beautiful craft (since he is working for himself, the amateur builder usually does not take shortcuts and can afford to use the best materials). If something goes wrong during the life of the boat, the builder knows that he will be able to fix it because he built it!
Probably the greatest small boat sailors of all time were the ancient Polynesians. Although their craft was not really what we would think of as trailer sailors, the boats did live on the beach when they were not being sailed.
These same boats (which were among the fastest non-engine powered watercraft of all time) were constructed by hand from all natural materials with no written plans, fibreglass, epoxy, or metal fittings. The navigators who sailed them had not weather instrumentation other than their own eyes and knowledge passed down from father to son for generations. Using this stone-age technology, they became the dominant culture over nearly a fifth of the Earth’s surface.
We may never become as intimate with the sea and the weather as the ancient Polynesians, but we face the same dangers and experience the same joys every time we go to sea in our small boats. It is an attainable adventure which is within reach of almost everyone, and one which can be shared and enjoyed by the entire family. Keep the following principles in mind:
Smaller vessels are incredibly capable, versatile, and much cheaper to own and operate than large yachts. The smaller the boat, the more fun it is to own!
Although a trailer sailor may not have enough space to carry a suite of full-function weather instruments, the skipper can use handheld electronic devices to keep track of the weather and communicate with other vessels.
There are several types of radio sets and receivers which can monitor NOAA Weather alerts and can be set up with an alarm for emergency conditions.
Tracking wind conditions is vital for sailing vessels for both the safety and performance of the craft. A simple portable wind meter gives the skipper up-to-the-moment readouts of wind speed and changing conditions.
Hypothermia can be deadly on the water. Keep track of air temperature and wind-chill conditions.
Use a barometer to track and predict changes in local weather conditions.
This Weather for Kids course is designed for parents to begin teaching their children about the weather and how it affects their world. It is primarily intended as a fun learning experience for both parents and kids, but it has a secondary goal of creating the basis for a life-long interest in science and nature.
Whether this interest grows to the point of further studies and an eventual pursuit of a career or studies in a S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) field is not important at this point.
What is important is that kids and parents share a sense of discovery as they learn about the world around them.
Weather and Science should be part of the child’s curriculum in school. We feel that by sharing these topics outside of a school environment so the child will have greater enthusiasm towards their lessons.
What’s more, this enthusiasm will carry over into other subjects. Children who are raised in an environment where learning for its own sake is encouraged are more likely to have greater success throughout their education. Greater success in school is just the icing on the cake. There are more than seven billion people living on the planet, and every one of them feels the effect of weather.
Talking about the weather has always been one of mankind’s most common conversation topics. We all enjoy nice weather and complain when it is not, but if we understand the weather even a little bit, then frightening and dangerous conditions become less scary. If the child is less scared in a dangerous weather situation, she is more likely to make the correct decisions and stay safe.
Check out the first 5 Chapters of our Weather for Kids Course
Since before man learned to walk upright, he has been concerned about the weather. Weather observation through weather station may actually precede Astronomy as the oldest science.
Stone age man would have poked his nose out of the cave in the morning and realized from past observations that if there was a good deal of wind and dark clouds on the horizon, it was a good day to stay inside the cave and paint pictures on the wall. When agriculture was developed, introducing trade and the beginnings of urbanization, a trader would soon learn that “red sky at morning” would mean it was not a good day to load his grain on a raft to float it to market.
Unless you spend your entire life indoors, connected to the Internet, the weather in your location has a profound influence on your daily existence. If you are able to detach from the Internet and actually go outside, you will find that knowing the weather conditions is vital to not only the success of whatever activity you choose to engage in, it will impact your health and safety. Speaking of health and safety, there are indoor applications for weather instruments which will help to measure the atmospheric conditions in your home, shop, office or factory and how they affect the performance of the people inside.
The Atmosphere: It’s Everywhere
Weather takes place in the atmosphere, which is a very large place. It is influenced by the different rates that the Sun heats the water in the ocean, the rocks of the continents, and how these bodies heat the air above them. These influences may be occurring hundreds or thousands of miles away from where you are living, working and playing, but with modern technology and communications we can get a pretty good idea of how they are going to affect the weather in our backyard. We know that an area of unseasonably warm ocean water off the coast will change our local rainfall patterns, or that the shift of a cold water current on the other side of the sea could bring major storms to our area in a few weeks.
A more immediate concern is what is happening right outside our window. There are any number of resources we can turn to in order to see regional conditions, from local TV and Radio news reports to Internet Weather services. The problem with these reports is that they are going to report Regional Conditions as opposed to what is going on in your own “micro-climate”.
Knowing that it is raining at the airport is not the same thing as knowing how much is falling on your garden and how often you need to turn on your sprinkler. Knowing how hard the wind is blowing at the local TV station may not tell you whether it is safe to fly your remote control airplanes. Knowing the humidity, heat index or wind chill at City Hall does not tell you whether you should put on a sweater or not for a walk around your neighborhood.
(To view / download the NOAA recommended guide on Choosing a Personal Weather Station CLICK HERE.)
Choosing Your Home Weather Station
There is an incredible variety weather stations on the market, ranging from the most accurate and expensive instrumentation similar to those found at an International airport or University science department to the so-called “Weather Rock” (“If the rock is wet, it is raining”). Choosing a personal weather station for your home is a matter of balancing the information you need displayed, how easy the system is to install and operate, and how much you are willing to pay.
Gardeners, athletes, students, sportsmen and business people are all affected by the same weather, but the conditions they need to observe may not be the same.
Home systems fall into different categories. There are wireless as opposed to wired systems. Some systems mount all the sensors in a single unit, which is easy to mount (and potentially portable) while others use separate sensors so that each can be mounted where they will read most accurately.
Electronic Weather Instruments and What They Measure
A wind sensor is a common reading in home weather stations. Most use a simple cup anemometer which has the advantage of sensing wind speed accurately from any direction and quickly responding to gusts. The propeller type anemometer is highly accurate and compact, making it a natural choice for handhelds, but its accuracy depends upon keeping its axis aligned with wind direction.
A wind vane will digitally indicate wind direction, but the unit’s base must be mounted and firmly held at true North. Most mounting instruction packets include information for converting magnetic North readings from a handheld compass to true North.
Gardeners, landscapers and homeowner need to follow rainfall amounts. An analog rain gauge is a deceptively simple device; it is simply a straight sided vessel with an open top. Periodically, the observer will record the depth of water in the vessel after a period of time, the results being inches of rainfall. When making the observation, he will also tip the accumulated water out of the gauge.
An automatic rain gauge measures the amount of rainfall as the rain is falling. The precipitation falls on a circular collection area with a funnel below. The outflow of the funnel is directed into a “self-emptying tipping bucket”. This device is essentially a teeter-totter with a water chamber on either side of the fulcrum. When the chamber on one side fills, the bucket tips and the chamber drains. At the same time, a switch is closed, and the sensor reads the frequency of the switches opening and closing. The most accurate tipping bucket systems have an 8-inch collection area and the bucket will tip with the weight of 0.01 inches of precipitation. Some lower resolution systems which will not tip until 0.04 inches of precipitation falls.
Temperature and Humidity
Temperature is measured using an electronic device called a thermistor, which is a resistor whose resistance depends upon temperature. As the temperature changes, so does the voltage of the thermistor circuit, and this is interpreted by the unit as a temperature reading.
Relative humidity, or the percentage of moisture in the air, is measured by an electronic hygrometer. The heart of the device is a material whose conductive properties change as humidity increases or decreases. Relative humidity differs from absolute humidity in that the former as a measurement of how much moisture the air can hold at a certain temperature. At high relative humidity levels, water does not readily evaporate and increased moisture will result in precipitation.
Systems which have temperature and humidity indicators usually have software which will compute the heat index. This is a measure of supposed comfort in an environment. Since the human body regulates its internal temperature by sweating, and the evaporation of sweat is less effective during high humidity, times of high heat and low humidity can be more comfortable and lower on the heat index than period of high humidity even though the actual temperature is lower.
Another software application which uses readings from two different sensors is wind-chill. Since the transfer of heat away from the body occurs more readily in moving air, the greater the wind during periods of cold, the colder it will feel.
Along with software based measurements, data logging is an important feature in a weather station. Simple handheld wind gauges often forgo data logging, but more fully featured models often retain a significant amount of data for later recording, and some can even attach to a computer or smartphone to download readings.
Some home weather stations are designed to connect with a PC or laptop and incorporate a Windows based interface. Some stations have a permanent base station which both displays and stores data from the sensors. Usually the base station will also interface with a computer via USB or Wifi.
Not only does being part of the network contribute more data points for more accurate climate observation and forecasting, being able to compare data with nearby stations gives an indication of how accurately an individual station is working.
(To view / download the NOAA recommended guide on Installing a Personal Weather Station click here.)
Selecting a home weather station and learning about the different sensors can be exciting and fun, but deciding where and how to install the station is even more important to getting the most out of it.
It is kind of like buying a sports car. It would be great to go out and buy a Lamborghini, but if the only place you can drive it is on crowded city streets, it is a lot less fun.
A sports car needs to be out on the open road, and a personal weather station needs to be out in the weather. Of course, there is more to siting your weather station than just putting it outside and turning it on.
Getting the best results will take some consideration and probably some compromise, but when you get it right, you will ensure years of trouble-free and accurate service.
Launching and landing commercial airliners which are carrying hundreds of people requires an intimate knowledge of local weather conditions, so airport operators put a lot of thought into how they install their weather sensors. However, the average home or business owner probably has fewer options than the airport has.
The National Weather Service recommends that temperature/humidity sensors be placed between 4’1” and 6’7” above the ground, a horizontal distance twice the height of the nearest object (twelve feet away from a six foot fence), and not in direct sunlight but in the open air.
An anemometer will ideally be mounted ten meters (32.8 feet) above the ground and a horizontal distance four times the height away from the nearest obstruction. The rain gauge will get its most accurate data if it is four to six feet off the ground and a horizontal distance four times the height away from the nearest obstruction.
Mounting all of the instruments on a single pole with each sensor at the proper height is often the best solution. Just keep in mind that the pole must be sturdy enough to support the weight of the anemometer in heavy winds. The use of guy wires is preferable to seeing your expensive weather station come crashing to the ground.
Installation in the Real World
At the airport, there is plenty of room to meet all of these conditions without getting in anyone’s way. In town it may not be so simple, especially if you need to consider restrictions placed by a homeowners association or even the reality of a small yard.
The design of the station itself may place some restrictions on your installation. There is no way to place the rain gauge a few feet off the ground and the wind gauge five times higher with an “all in one” weather station. However, from an engineering standpoint, such a design is incredibly simple to install, just find a pole which meets the manufacturer’s recommendations and you are good to go.
Getting the data from outside at the sensors to the base station inside also needs to be taken into consideration. Most wireless stations are rated with a “line of sight” transmission distance, but building construction and electromagnetic interference may reduce the radio transmitter’s range.
A wired station is less vulnerable to interference so long as the wire is protected from damage.
Stations with separate sensors often use wires to connect the sensors to a central power or sending unit. Some systems have a solar charging option to keep the batteries fresh or they may incorporate an external power source. Other designs use internal batteries which must be refreshed occasionally.
Although there are many factors to be considered for installation of your weather station, most manufacturers have useful recommendations in the installation instructions.
Many companies will have a help-line that will provide installation advice over the telephone or online. The National Weather Service also provides some useful guidelines.
01. How does WeatherStationary select the weather stations it sells?
We are located in Wyoming, where the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains come together, so we are no strangers to extreme weather. We are also in a position to enjoy some of the best outdoor recreation opportunities anywhere, so long as the weather cooperates!
We select our weather stations and instruments based on several factors, but they generally boil down to one thing: providing our customers with the best value for the money. One of the first things we look at is how easy the system is to install and use. A rugged, easy to install unit will provide better service and results than a more sensitive system that requires more adjustment.
Even if a system seems simple to install and use, we feel that it is important for the manufacturer to have a reliable support network in place. All of the companies we work with provide easy to understand user manuals, and they go the extra mile with a well-staffed help line. Keep in mind that the sensors in your weather station are sensitive electronic instruments. The call center staff has “heard it all” and will be a huge help to answer your questions and trouble shoot any problems you have during installation.
Finally, there is the money factor. We have selected the weather stations that allow us to give the best price to our customers. Naturally, you get what you pay for, but we know that everyone appreciates a good deal!
02. What do I do if there is no data or faulty data displayed on my console?
Refer to the literature provided with your station for specific troubleshooting guidance, but a few general guidelines apply to most weather stations. If all of the data is displayed on the console screen but it is much higher or lower than expected, a common problem is the unit setting, which may be in metric or imperial units. Set the units to those most appropriate to users observing your station.
If all of the data points on the console are either blank or fully black, reboot the console. This is usually accomplished by removing any back-up batteries and disconnecting the AC adapter for 10-20 seconds. The console will begin a reboot cycle when power is restored.
If the console displays partial data, there may be a problem with the sensors or the transmitter(s). Before getting on the ladder, go ahead and reboot the console, if this does not correct the fault, check the power for the faulty sensor and its associated transmitter. Note: if more than one sensor uses a common transmitter but there is a faulty reading from only one, the fault is likely in the sensor rather than the transmitter.
03. Will the mounting pole affect wind direction readings?
Most units are designed with the wind vane and anemometer mounted at the top so that it will always be in free moving air. There are weather station designs that place the vane and anemometer below the sensor housing, but wind tunnel testing has shown that interference from the mounting pole does not affect the wind readings, so long as the unit has been mounted in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions.
04. How can I share the data from my weather station with others in my area?
Systems from Davis Instruments are designed so that the Integrated Sensor Suite is the only transmitter in the system, but the signal may be received by any number of compatible consoles. A single ISS installed on the highest building of a campus could provide weather data to several different labs and offices.
Weather data can also be shared via the Internet, as long as the owner/operator of the station chooses to connect with the ‘net. If the software bundled with your station does not allow for Internet sharing there are aftermarket software outlets for all of the popular weather stations. WiFi enabled receivers allow station data to be uploaded to the Internet without turning on your primary PC.
Station operators may choose to share their data via a Personal Weather Station Network like Weather Underground. By reading the data from nearby weather enthusiasts, the data from their local station becomes more meaningful, predictions become more accurate, and it is simple to verify that your own station is performing accurately. However, the data from the network will never be as accurate for your local micro-climate as the data from your own station.
05. What tools will I need to install my weather station?
Different models will have different installation parameters, but they are generally designed to be “plug and play” and installation is well with the reach of a home handyman. An adjustable wrench and screwdriver are all that are needed to mount the sensors to the mounting pole. Attaching the pole to a structure or post may require heavier tools and hardware, but it is no more difficult than mounting a television antenna.
One required special tool is a compass or local map to align the wind vane with true North. Keep in mind that uncompensated hand-held compasses will point to magnetic North rather than true North. If declination is not figured in there will be a permanent error in your wind direction readings (although it will be a consistent error in all directions). Declination data can be found on USGS topographical maps or by looking it up at http://www.magnetic-declination.com/.
06. The wind is gusting but the Wind-chill reading on my console does not change. Why?
Wind chill is a calculated data point rather than a measured one. The formula for figuring wind-chill is based on air temperature and wind speed, but since it is an indication of how cold the environment feels, most systems use average wind speed rather than current wind speed. Therefore, if the wind increases for a few seconds, wind chill will not drop right away.
07. The transmission range of my weather station is 1000’ (300m). Can I really mount the unit that far away from my house?
Transmission ranges are generally listed as “line of sight”, which allows for some wiggle room in radio ranges. When we say “line if sight”, it means that if the transmitter at the sensor suite is sitting in the open air, and the receiver in the console is also sitting in the open air with nothing between the two, then data will be transferred even if the units are 1000’ apart. Note that “line of sight” is not the same as “ideal conditions”, there are several examples of low powered transmitters and receivers getting a signal through for miles. However, in the real world of your back yard, there may be trees, power lines, metal buildings and walls between the transmitter and receiver, any and all of which may reduce transmission range.
Most wireless weather station manufacturers offer radio repeaters which will boost a low signal to give it longer range. The repeater will be tuned to each manufacturer’s units, and may be used to extend the range up to several miles.
08. I know that it has been raining but my rainfall gauge does not indicate any precipitation, or gives a lower than expected indication. What should I do?
The tipping bucket rain gauge is an ingeniously simple and reliable instrument with very little that can actually go wrong. Quite often, lower than expected readings occur simply because Mother Nature does not always spread rainfall evenly over a small area. This is particularly noticeable during short cloud bursts. How often does friend across town call and complain about forgetting her umbrella while it is sunny and clear at your house?
One way to verify that your rainfall gauge is working is to slowly pour a measured amount of water through the device, about 100ml over a period of 5 minutes. If the water flows too fast, most of it will spill out without tipping the bucket, but a slow pour should yield a measurable result.
Rain gauge funnels also seem to attract wildlife. Birds and insects have been known to nest in rain gauge funnels, or debris may block the funnel screen. If birds roosting in your rain gauge becomes a problem, you may consider installing bird spikes which will keep birds from landing on your gauge without interfering with raindrops being collected.
09. What if I am not getting a rainfall reading and I just installed the system?
You may be able to remove the cover and funnel from the rain gauge by gently pulling the cover off (be careful not to pull the whole rain gauge off of the weather station). Inspect that there is no debris or damage preventing the tipping mechanism from working. Manually tip the mechanism with your fingers. A slight clicking should be heard as the counter engages. If the manual tips do not register on your display console, there may be failed switch or wiring defect. Contact the customer service number for your device’s manufacturer. In most cases, the rain gauge is easily replaced in the field and will require no calibration.
10. The air temperature reading from my station is much higher than the old dial thermometer I have had in the yard for years. What is happening?
False high temperature readings are common in roof mounted installations, even when the manufacturer’s instructions are followed. Most will specify that the unit is to be mounted several feet above the surface of a roof, or above a paved surface. Since these materials absorb a lot of solar energy which radiated and heat. Generally, the air temperature sensor is mounted far enough above the radiation source (the roof or pavement) that air movement (wind) will normally correct the reading. However, during periods of low or no wind, surface radiation may heat the air immediately around the sensor to the point that it appears to be a false reading. If raising the sensor mounting higher is not practical, consider placing a lighter colored material immediately under the sensor. This will cause the surface to reflect rather than absorb solar radiation. If neither of these steps are acceptable, the only option is to find an alternate mounting location or accept that the air temperature reading will be high during low wind conditions.
11. The barometric pressure displayed on my console is obviously too high or too low. What will cause this?
The electronic pressure gauge which acts as the barometer in your weather station is a rather simple and reliable device. It is made up of a force collector and a strain gauge. The Strain gauge measures the change in electrical resistance of a metal or semiconductor as mechanical force is applied to it. These are calibrated at the factory and generally not user adjustable.
However, erroneous readings are often the result of installers forgetting to input the altitude or making the input in feet rather than meters.
Keep in mind that barometric trends are often more useful than the actual numerical reading. If pressure is higher than it was an hour ago, the weather is likely clearing. If the pressure is steady, the same weather conditions will continue, and a falling barometer indicates that a storm may be approaching. If the barometer falls rapidly, the storm may be a violent one!
12. How does my weather station generate a weather prediction? Is there any way to generate a more detailed and reliable prediction than the standard icons?
Sometimes what is happening with the weather now will not be as important to you as what the weather will be doing in the near future. If your display console displays a weather prediction, the unit generates that prediction based on an algorithm which uses current weather condition factors as well as some past data. Each manufacturer will use their own algorithm, which is based mostly on barometric pressure trends. For years, sailors at sea were able to make reliable predictions based on their ship’s barometer and the conditions they saw around them. More sophisticated algorithms will take other weather conditions into consideration, but barometric pressure is usually the most closely tracked trend.
Your local TV station or favorite weather web-site may provide a more detailed forecast than the simple “Sunny”, “Cloudy”, “Partly Cloudy”, “Rainy” or “Snowy” icon displayed on your personal console. Although these outlets use an algorithm which is rather similar to that used by your personal weather station, they have the advantage of a much larger data set, including readings from hundreds of weather stations just like yours, pulse Doppler radar, radiosonde data, and some of the most sophisticated computers on the planet.
It pays to follow the predictions from commercial and government sources to compare with your personal forecast. In the end, whether it is from the biggest computers at the NOAA or a Boy Scout reciting “Red Sky At Morning…” on a camping trip, any forecast is simply a guess based on past observations and the available data. The more you observe the weather with your station, the better you will become at anticipating environmental conditions for your location.
(this section is under development and will be available soon with more questions)