Sunrise Behind My Anemometer

A large part of my life revolves around what the weather is doing, as both conservation photography and fly fishing are outdoor pursuits. In 2011, after I retired, Norma gave me a great Christmas present – a Davis Vantage Pro 2 weather station. I set it up and took a year to get used to what it could do, and then 10 years ago to the day I got my station going online and reporting to my own hand coded website.
Observing the weather is something I’ve enjoyed since my teenage years at least – as because of ski racing we had to know the temperature and humidity to wax skis for the best performance. My station, though, is way more than just that – as I now report to a slew of weather sites, where meteorologists take my verified data and then use it to inform forecasts, weather trends and even climate data. Like many people who own a Pro 2, I report to the Citizen’s Weather Observer Program and a bunch of other web linked automated weather data collection agencies – all of which compare and contrast data to verify the accuracy of readings, and then which use the data in their work. I also report manually to CoCoRaHS, an international university led program which takes manual readings of rain, hail and snow measurements and uses that information to also inform forecasts – and so when you see Port Maitland on the evening news and precipitation amounts, that’s my station. NOAA in the US also uses the information from my station in a similar fashion. I am also an official observer giving readings daily to The Weather Network and its Canadian system, and just this past year I was invited to join a Mesonet of stations mainly in Nova Scotia, managed by an Environment Canada employee, where the stations send the information automatically via a Davis system known as a Weather Link Live – a small Bluetooth device that sits behind my office computer, and which gets the same information as my Davis console, but which sends the information from my weather station directly to a special website that can then rebroadcast to the Mesonet. The purpose of the Mesonet is to retrieve and analyze long term climate data with an eye to watching for any climate change as it occurs.
Weather watching at this level is educational and rewarding but does take time and effort. Hurricane Arthur in July of 2014 caused damage to my system, although the station itself withstood the storm, a testament to the ruggedness of Davis’ equipment here on the coast of Nova Scotia. In any case, it's a 10 year anniversary of my little effort to inform citizen science, and a really fun and interesting experience.
If you want to check out what’s going on in Port Maitland weather-wise, my weather station is online at:
Coastal Port Maitland Weather