- First AWS(Automatic Weather Station) Observatory at Siliguri
I have been a HAM operator for a couple of while and since pursuing this hobby, I got interested in the conditions of the weather around my area. Since all the HAM operators, always talk about the temperature and how the weather is around their vicinity, I too wanted the same. I wanted to know more about my weather conditions and so started the search for my weather research and how I got to installing my First Automated Weather Station (AWS) here in Siliguri. So here is the complete story how I commissioned one. It was also a great learning experience and during the process I learnt a lot about the weather and how it affects our daily lives. I was also able to see the prediction of the weather around my area and this prediction was personalized around the sensors that I have installed. It was not just an ordinary prediction from the internet.
Weather plays a vital role in our lives and it is also important to know about it. It affects us in various ways and it is very important that we know how it works. Since Mother Nature is not at all predictable in its fury, but a little knowledge of how the weather works is much better than not knowing at all. If one has some knowledge about the conditions of the weather that is going on around him or her, it helps a lot before hand and take necessary actions. For example, it would be great if you knew that it would be raining today and therefore you can now take the umbrella with you if you go out. Or on the other hand it will be a lot cooler than yesterday and you may wear an extra cloth for your comfort. So these are just the practical factors that are helpful to us, but you may benefit much more if you could know the weather parameters.
To measure the Temperature there are various sensors. The sensor that I am going to talk about today are electronic sensors. These are very tiny electronic devices which sense how much hot or cold is the environment around it. This in turn produces an electric current which is measured via an electronic circuit and gives us the information in numbers. Thus we get to know how much the temperature is with a value either in degree Celsius or Fahrenheit. The other important factor to be measured is the Humidity. It plays an important role as it is responsible how much water is in the air. By measuring the Humidity, we can calculate the Dew point. The Dew point is the man factor that relates to how we feel at the present moment. For example, if the temperature is 27 degrees Celsius and the Humidity is 85% than what the normal person feels when he is outside is that the weather feels around 33 degrees Celsius. Therefore, one may fell really hot experiencing these conditions. Even when the temperature is considerably low but due to the humidity one may feel very hot. One may complain that the weather is very humid.
So coming back to the main point, I after researching various topics found out that, it is indeed important to know the weather in and around me. There are various websites that let us know the weather in and around the area but to sum it all, they are not at all accurate and mostly rely on the prediction. I am talking especially around the area of Siliguri and Darjeeling. This is because there aren’t any sensors or devices that report the current weather situations timely to the weather Servers on the internet. Therefore, we get a rough idea only on how the weather is by calculating nearby sensors that are reporting to the internet. Now, you all may be wandering what the Weather Servers are. These are powerful computers in the internet which allows us to predict the weather as well as let us know the current weather in the current place at a given point of time. This are all online all the time and are the back bone of the weather prediction and reporting system. There are hundreds, and even thousands of such servers around the internet.
I have been dong the research on these servers for around 5 to 6 years and to my surprise I have found none that has weather sensor’s in and around Siliguri and neighboring areas. I am going to list the various servers that reports weather to some servers but are not that consistent. I am mainly focusing on my area that is Siliguri. The main sensor that relies heavily on predicting the weather and letting us know the weather conditions is from the airport that is Bagdogra (which is under Siiguri area). They report around 4 to 5 times a day with the weather. The second is Siliguri College and this is a manual readout where one manually takes the measurement and relates to the weather center. We can get the report around 7 to 8 times a day but as this is a manual reporting it is not consistent. We can get this information directly form the IMD (Indian Meteorological Department) Kolkata website. This is a Government funded website and it does have observations centers in Sikkim. But there aren’t any centers in Siliguri. As Siliguri being a primarily located area i was really very saddened as well as surprised that not a single observation center was here at Siliguri for reporting the weather. So I researched more and wanted to set up an Automated Weather Reporting System in Siliguri. As the name Suggest this weather observation module does not need human intervention to report the weather. They do this automatically, measuring the temperature and humidity every minute. These sensors are installed outdoors. This are wireless sensors and they transmit the data to the main unit indoors. Here we may view the data in a readable format in a display. And this main unit is also responsible to further relay this weather information to the weather servers in the internet for further detailed analysis. Therefore, we can see from the above process no human intervention is required in this process. Everything is done automatically. This way the weather data is sent to the internet servers every minute and then it is logged for further analysis by the super computers at the server end. We do not have to calculate anything as all the calculations and predictions are done from the server end and we can just see the data on the webpage or a monitor or even on our smart phone. We can get the weather predictions, the highest weather recorded the lowest weather recorded and also the sunrise and sunset timings from the servers. Based on the measurements of the temperature and Humidity recorded from the module it is also able to predict the weather for this particular area.
Therefore, after doing a lot of search on the internet as well as going to various article on the AWS, I managed to buy a (not so expensive) weather module from Ambient Weather. The model of the weather station is WS-0265. It is a small module with an external sensor also included. When you purchase you get this as a bundle. The setup is also straight forward and you can set it up within ease. If you just follow the instructions, you may get you station up and running within a couple of minutes. After the setup the module will automatically send the data to the “weather underground” servers and also the ambient weather cloud and you may view the data either on the webpage or even on an android phone connected to the internet. Simultaneously you can also view the data on the console display on the module.
I bought this weather station and installed at Siliguri. To be precise I installed at location Dhukuria, Salbari. This station is the first to transmit the data to the servers on the internet and up till now no such device was there. But after installing and commissioning the device, this was the first on the map that was relaying the weather data to the internet. This system has been installed for more than a year and I see it has been working flawlessly throughout the year. Only sometimes when there is internet failure the device goes offline, but other than that, the system is working flawlessly. No other intervention is required, other than changing the batteries of the sensors. Sometimes there is also firmware upgrades and that can be done easily with app provided. Overall I liked the weather station so much that I managed to buy yet another for my location at Sharjah. Therefore, I now have two such devices transmitting data to the internet from two locations. Now coming to the point, since this weather station is the first that is sending data to the internet, now I can get personalized updates for the weather as well as personalized weather forecast for my area. Not only this this is helping a lot of people around my area as well as the information is openly submitted to the public and not kept in a private space. Anyone browsing the internet can view the data from this weather station.
For future projects I am also planning to install weather sensors to locations in Darjeeling as well. This is also thought carefully and planned. Hope I will be able to set up a weather station there in the Hills as it would be a great achievement for me which would also be first of its kind.
- WiFi at Sharjah Port (A report)