Friday, October 26, 2012

Tracking the Weather and Hurricane Sandy with Citizen Science - Part I


Let's talk about the weather.

Photo Courtesy: Ambient Weather
I've been planning to plunge into citizen science weather projects but was pulled aside while writing about other important topics (such as encouraging donations to Smithsonian citizen science projects).  But with the approach of Hurricane Sandy (aka "Frankenstorm!") this seemed like the perfect time to start.  As a blogger in Washington DC we are right in the storm's bulls-eye and a great opportunity to gather interesting weather readings and show what the equipment station can really do.  And frankly it seemed fun too!

My goal is to better understand the climate in my local area and how it relates to the many nature projects I'm also working in.  As you've seen in this blog there are a huge number of nature-based citizen science projects and I've been participating in many of them.  Over the last year information about all the plants and animals in my backyard is available to researchers studying those species and the environment.  So if I can add detailed climate information to this data there may be many additional discoveries that can be made.

I'm also very interested in meteorology as a thriving arena for citizen science.  I have not written much about it but there is a long tradition of everyday people providing weather data to professional forecasters.  Not everything can be recorded at government science stations and much must come from widely dispersed people from all corners of the country.  In addition, many people have begun sharing and using this data for their own weather studies outside of "official" channels.  Much of it even exceeds forecasts from government sources.  So it's an area long-deserving attention from this blog.

The only way to understand this field is to actually join in, and the first step is purchasing my very own personal weather station.  So let's get started.  When reviewing equipment options I had a few simple requirements.
  1. Affordable price.  It had to be under $200 and preferably closer to $100.  There are many good-quality weather stations for home use that are more expensive ($300 and up) but that didn't seem appropriate for the everyday person just getting started with weather-based citizen science.
  2. Scientifically reliable results: There are many consumer grade weather stations available at reasonable prices, but these seem mainly for personal entertainment and can't be used by professional researchers. I wanted this data to be meaningful and have the potential to advance true meteorological research.
  3. Measures all important weather conditions.  Nearly all provide temperature with rainfall and barometric pressure also being quite common.  But wind speed also seemed important, especially if I want to provide meaningful research data.
  4. Wireless capability.  I can't afford a dedicated computer for this experiment and I can't run wires outside for it.  So some wireless capability was needed.
  5. Widely available:  My blog reaches a national (and dare I say it international) audience so any option should be available to the greatest number of potential readers.
After much research I finally chose the Ambient Weather WS-500 Wireless Home Weather Station.  Priced at $114.00 through Amazon.com (now on sale for $69.99!!) it was well within my budget.  This model has been very popular and supplies have run low at times, but I was lucky enough to get one recently.  It is a stand-alone unit with wireless transmission/recording that collects rainfall, temperature, wind speed, wind direction, and barometric pressure data.  It is also compatible with various data protocols used by various weather amateur and professional weather networks (more about this in a future post).  The only draw-back was from many reviewers commenting that an extra temperature and solar radiation shield is required to give the most accurate readings.  While sold separately it was a bit expensive, but the total price of both the station and was still under $160 (at the time) and met my pricing criteria.

In just a few short days it arrived on my doorstep.  It was a small box inside a much larger box, but much was packed into it.  But was it simple to set up?  What does it look like?  All that it tomorrow's post!  So join me on Saturday as we set everything up and prepare for the big storm.

In the meantime I highly recommend following the Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang for continuous updates on the storm.  I follow this group closely not only for their highly local coverage and breaking news update, but because they have been strong supporters of meteorological citizen science and include much information from highly-informed, hard-working amateurs who provide a fresh perspective on the weather.  Not only it's local impact, but the hows and whys written in a way that's accessible to professionals and lay-people alike.  So if you don't follow them already this storm is the perfect chance to get acquainted!





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6 comments:

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  4. شركة تنظيف
    تهتم شركة قمم التميز باعمال وخدمات التنظيف فى اى مكان فى تنظيف الشقق – البيوت – المنازل – المصانع واى مكان يحتاج الى اعمال التنظيف من اجل ان تساعد فى الوصول الى افضل ما تجدة من نتائج مميزة شركة تنظيف منازل بجازان
    تنظيف يحتاج للاشياء معقدة من الادوات ، مثل الغرف المنزل لها ادوات التنظيف الخاصة، الصالون المدهب يحتاج لمنظف الخاص ، وسطح فى المنزل يتطلب مواد متخلفة ، فكثير من المنظفات المطلوبة حتى تكون عملية التنظيف سهلة ومن المنظفات : مبيض التواليت ، منظف الحمام، المطهرات ، المنظف للنوافذ والارضيات والغسيل ، سائل الغسيل و اعمال المنزل الصغيرة يمكن انجازاها بفوطة جافة ومنظف جيد ، المنظف المصنوع بقل الامكنيات ، معلقتين من الخل الابيض مع لتر من الماء الساخن وضعهم فى بخاخة . بيكربونات الصوديم لتنظيف البلاط يمكن مزج ثلاثه اجزاء من الماء الساخن مع جزء من الصودا لتنطيف الفرن والثلاجة ، وبيكربونات الصوديم بقليل من سائل الجلى يتكون معجون سميك صالح لتنظيف الحمام ، يمكن استخدام بيكربونات الصوديم وضعه فى صحن صغير ولطرد الروائح الكريهة من الثلاجة ، كربونات الصوديم فعالة فى ازالة البقع الدهنية لانها قلوية ويجب لبس قفازات لاستخدامها .
    شركة تنظيف بجازان
    الخل الابيض وعصير الليمون يمكن تنظيف السطوح الزجاجية والخشبية المصقولة ، ويمكن استخدام الخل الابيض والليمون للتخلص من الروائح الكريهة والتعطير .
    عند التنظيف يجب لبس القفازات لحماية الايدى من المواد المنظفه ، ويمكن لبس الفقازات عند غسيل الصحون وتكون مخصص لعمل فى المطبخ .
    والمنزل النظيفة من غير فوضوى أجمل بكثير وافضل ،وإذا توفر جميع الادوات النظافة داخل بيت تكون عمليه النظافة سهلة ،شركة تنظيف شقق بجازان
    للتنظيف المنزل من اعلى الى اسفل ، اى تنظيف الغبار من اعلى الى اسفل ويمكن استخدام الاجهزة الكهربائية فى عملية التنظيف .
    تنظيف النوافذ باستخدام قطعة قطنية فى مسح الزجاج وللتجفيف بورقة من الجرائد ، وتنظيف الاسطح الزجاجية للمنضدة باستعمال عصير ليمون ودعكها ثم تجفيفها بفوطة ورقية. ويمكن استعمال معجون الاسنان فى ازالة الخدوش الصغيرة من الزجاج . شركة تنظيف فلل بجازان
    لتنظيف الاثاث استعمال منظف على قليل من نشادر ، عدم وضع الاثاث فى أشعه الشمس فالشمس تجفف الأثاث ، للتخلص من الحلقات التى تكون على المنضدة بقليل من المنظف مع النشادر ثم مسحها بفوطة جافة ثم تلميعها بالملمع .
    لتنظيف الحمام باستخدام الادوات النظافة الخاصة للحمام فى الحمام ، تنظيف السيراميك والمرايا باستخدام مطهر الجراثيم وتنظيف كل شئ فى الحمام مثل مقبض الباب ومفتاح الكهرباء ، والتخلص من القاذورات فى الاركان الضيقة فى الحمام ، تنظيف الخلاطات المياه ومسحها بقطعة قماش مغموسة فى خل او زيت الطعام ، لتنظيف الحمام باستخدام المناديل المعقمة ومسح منطقة الدش والمرحاض .
    شركة تنظيف خزانات بجازان
    يمكن وضع جدول زمنى لتنظيف المنزل : ترتيب السرير وتغير ملايات السرير كل اسبوع ، غسيل الملابس اذا كانت العائلة مكونة من الاطفال يقومون بتوسيخ ملابسهم بشكل متكرر فيجب تنظيف البقع سريعا .

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