After wanting to acquire a departmental weather station for many years, Brian Davis recently mentioned a design sold by Weatherflow that has no moving parts, wirelessly connects to a hub, and is solar powered. This sounds perfect for deployment outside our astronomical observatory, so we purchased one in February and installed it today.
Their offering is called the Tempest, and it uses ultrasonic sensors for wind direction and speed and haptic sensors on the top surface to detect precipitation. It also has a light sensor and, of course, temperature, pressure and humidity senosors. Oh, it can detect lightning, too!
As mentioned, the station communicates wirelessly with a hub, and the hub is connected to IUSB’s WiFi network (special thanks to Kyle Paulk, in IT, for getting it properly registered and connected). We may ultimately move the station location if we can identify an even less obstructed location within range, but for now it’s mounted on a PVC pole about five feet above the roof surface and within easy wireless range of the hub, which is inside the observatory dome. My four-year-old son was a great help in fixing the pole in a bucket with concrete we poured in and positioned for data collection.
Data from our new station can be accessed via the following URL:
Here’s a group shot from a part of our Spring 2022 Meteorology (GEOL-G 219) class:
See below for a few plots of data collected during the first few days subsequent to commissioning the new station and additional details about pressure corrections for our location:
Below are plots showing our first 15 hours (March 16-17, 2022) of data collection for temperature, humidity and wind:
And, here are data leading up to the first rainstorm (March 18, 2022) — note the classic observation of falling pressure preceding the storm:
Adjusting Measured “Station Pressures” to Reported Sea-Level “Pressures”
The meteorology class used the built-in barometer from a smartphone to estimate the height above ground of our Tempest:
Additionally, the device is mounted on a PVC pole about 5′ above the roof surface, so we’ve set the device height as 55′ above the ground. This matters so that the station software can make sea-level corrections not just based on the known elevation of our location (i.e., at our specified latitude and longitude, which is about 705′ above sea level), but for this additional height above ground, as well.
These corrections also factor in adjustments based upon temperature and humidity to facilitate useful comparisons with stations at different locations. For a rough comparison, such corrections at our location typically add about 30 [mb] to the “station pressure,” as directly observed by our Tempest, and the reported “pressure” that’s been corrected to sea level.