Seen at The Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

The Trials of a Novice Amateur Weather Monitor


Did you know last year was the wettest since records began? Well, it was here at VP Gardens because it was the first year I've been monitoring the rain gauge I installed in the garden in April. However, as you can see I'm having a little difficulty in totting up the final total for December as the rain/snowfall in the gauge has been frozen for the past 2 weeks and is likely to remain so for a while according to the latest weather forecast.

I'm also struggling to find the ideal location for the Max/Min thermometer Santa bought me for Christmas. My initial thoughts were to put it somewhere on the patio, but the readings will be distorted by all the hardscaping thus making my garden seem even more scorchio than it really is in the summer. If I was a proper weather monitor I'd house it behind an unsightly Stevenson Screen, to ensure the real air temperature was being measured rather than that of the sunshine. I don't think putting it behind one of the shrubs or the Rosa 'Rambling Rector' is an adequate (or accurate) alternative.

I doubt the Met Office professionals ever have these kind of problems. How do you monitor the weather in your garden?

9 comments:

  1. I used to use Met Office data for my weather modelling (in ye olden days when I was a scientist!) I remember one exciting trip to the Met Office offices (in Bracknell at the time) where I was allowed to get hold of original handwritten records from weather stations, great fun seeing the tribulations of those old weather monitors - very similar to yours.

    In my day snow in the rain gauge was represented as -99999 in the digital record!

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  2. I usually stick my nose out of the door and on mornings like this just look through the windows :) I would like one of those all singing, all dancing weather monitors that I could link to the computer but then I might not be able to tear myself away from all the statistics.

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  3. I'm pretty low-tech. I have a simple rain gauge in one of my beds and a big read-from-a-great-distance thermometer on a shady side of a fence. I'd like to add an outdoor barometer, but haven't gotten around to it...for all that, I'm kind of a weather geek, actually. I have links on my computer to two different weather sites, and three on my iPhone.

    My BIL has one of those fancy amateur weather stations that measures temp, humidity, and wind speed and transmits the data back to a monitor indoors. I lust after it.

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  4. HA, I like the new records, since they are all new! Hope you are feeling better now, sniff. Hot beverage and ritter not a biscuit.

    We do measure the rainfall, but only in months of non freezing weather. Neither glass nor plastic can hold up to being frozen, so I just take it down until spring. Not good for record keeping at all. The thermometer is in the vestibule, out of the sunlight. It is warmer there, but not by a lot so I can get a good idea of how cold, or hot it is.
    Frances

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  5. That looks like ice in your rain gauge. As a cold weather expert (I think I qualify, as I have lived in the Chicago area all my life & have experienced the mind-numbing cold of -25F/-32C), I would recommend that you empty out the rain gauge and keep it inside until it stays above freezing. Otherwise, the ice may cause the gauge to crack. I brought my rain gauge in for the winter & am relying on a nearby weather station, which isn't quite accurate for my garden.

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  6. (Our rain gauge is inside now, the last one cracked, until a friend kindly explained - people usually bring them IN for the summer.) And Max and Minnie live on a shady pillar on the verandah. If you are a weather geek, mine is on my sidebar!

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  7. Karen and Nutty Gnome - most wise ;)

    NewShoot - I'm most envious and many thanks for the additional info. In my first job when we we moved down here, the office I worked at had one of only 2 Cyber supercomputers in the country. The other was at the Met Office. I wonder how well we can regard the reports of records of centuries past being broken as I'm sure we're not measuring things in the same way as they did back then...

    Anna - so would I but they're very expensive and its hard to choose which one to go for. Also I wasn't sure if I'd use it after the novelty had worn off. So I went for the cheapie version first, to see whether I kept it up. So far, so good, so perhaps a weather station will be on my present list for Santa next year...

    Susan - we have an indoor barometer, but I'm not sure on how accurate it is. I'm a weather geek too - I loved studying it at school, but sadly my physics wasn't up to the job for studying it at Uni.

    Frances - perhaps I should be bringing mine in too...

    MMD - the nearest official weather station is at RAF Lynham (and is the one is use for the Accuweather data displayed in my sidebar) which is up on a very windy hilltop, so I suspect its data is very different to mine. I'll do as you advise once this bl**dy awful cold eases enough so I can go outdoors again.

    Elephant's Eye - I'll check it out on my next vist :)

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