Do you own a personal home weather station and a computer with a dedicated connection to the Internet, such as DSL or cable? If you do, the National Weather Service (NWS) would love to see your data! By regularly posting your data on the Internet, the NWS can ingest this into our data and display systems, which improves not only weather forecasts for your area, but also makes the NWS aware of micro-climates (unique temperature, wind and precipitation patterns) specific to your local area.
Posting your data online is relatively quick and simple if you own a weather station that is capable of uploading weather data to a computer. If your weather station and accompanying computer software has this functionality (check the instruction manuals), and you have a cable modem or DSL connection to the Internet, read on for some more information on how you can send your data to us!
The Citizen Weather Observer Program (CWOP) is a private-public partnership with three main goals: 1) to collect weather data contributed by citizens; 2) to make these data available for weather services and homeland security; and 3) to provide feedback to the data contributors so that they have the tools to check and improve their data quality.
There are over 6,000 registered CWOP members world wide. CWOP members send their weather data by internet alone and internet-wireless combination to special computer servers, and then every 15 minutes, the entire data set is sent from these servers to a NWS server. The data are checked for quality and then redistributed to users. The data is available for use by NWS meteorologists for use in forecasts, watches and warnings almost immediately. There are over 500 different user organizations of mesonet data.
If you are interested in improving weather forecasts, and want your data to play a role in the overall NWS watch/warning/forecast process, then navigate to the CWOP link above and become a member of CWOP. Read and follow the instructions to become a CWOP member, as well as for your weather station and weather software. Once you acquire a CWOP identification (ID), set up your weather software/station to send your data! This is usually a very quick and relatively simple setup.
To give you some idea of how valuable this data can be, check out this link of weather data gathered from a small weather station outside our office on top of La Crosse Ridge.
If you are interested in getting your data online, and have questions about the overall process, please send us an email! Due to a widely varying number of weather stations and software packages, we won't be able to address specific setup problems. Please address those questions to CWOP, or refer to your instruction manuals.