"Kirkcaldy Weather" is located at Lat 56° 07' 17"N Long 03° 09' 49"W (altitude 58m). The station consists of a La Crosse WS2357 system which, although capable of connecting wirelessly with its base unit, is in this case connected in a wired configuration. The system has (outside) an anemometer, a rain gauge and a thermometer/hygrometer unit, and (indoors) a base unit. The data from the base unit is then accessed by a dedicated netbook running Weather Display software. Also running on the netbook is the add-on software, Weather Display Live which creates the real-time display shown on another page of this site.
Initially, I had chosen the WMR100N set from Oregon Scientific. This is an inexpensive set, providing wireless capability allowing the sensors to be placed where it may be difficult to runs cables, and provides the flexibility of extending the range of sensors (adding UV, leaf moisture, etc). Unfortunately, we found that there is a large amount of interference due to other wireless sources in our vicinity and the base unit refused to retain its lock on the remote sensors. The WS2357 was only fractionally more expensive, provided the cabled connection, but unfortunately does not have the expansion possibilities.
The anemometer measures the current windspeed and direction. It is mounted on the peak of the gable-end of the house so that the structure of the building creates minimal interference with speed or direction. A cable runs from this unit to the thermo/hygro unit. I have elected to use knots as my basic measurement, mostly because of my background in the Merchant Navy where knots are still used.
The rain gauge collects rainwater in the funnel and channels it into two small buckets on a see-saw. As each bucket fills, the see-saw tips, which empties it and records one "unit" of rain "collected". The base unit counts the number of tips made and calculates the quantity and rate of rainfall. It is mounted on the garden fence about 3ft (1m) above the ground so that it is not in the shelter of any building or trees, and not affected by any dew forming at ground level. A cable runs from this unit to the thermo/hygro unit. I have elected to use the old British unit of inches as my basic measurement.
The thermo/hygro unit has three functions. It measures the outside temperature; it measures the outside humidity; and it relays all the data from all the units back to the base unit by cable. It is mounted under the eaves of the garage roof which means it is sheltered from direct sunlight and rain, and clear of artificial heat-sources such as central heating boiler flues. I have elected to use Celsius as my basic measurement of temperature as it is the standard in Europe.
The base unit (right) collects all the data from the thermo/hygro unit (which includes the data from the anemometer and rain gauge) and displays current details on the small screen. Buttons around the side allow the user to select different aspects of the current weather to view. There is also provision for alarms to flash/sound when certain maxima or minima are exceeded. It also contains a thermo/hygro unit for indoor temperature and humidity, and a barometer to record the atmospheric pressure. Pressure at any given point on the Earth changes with altitude (the higher you are, the lower the pressure). In order to compare different locations and create a pressure chart, it is necessary to use a "standard" altitude - this is set at Mean Sea Level and all readings are corrected to refer to this level (see conversions page for more details). This station's readings have been corrected for its altitude of 58m (a correction of +7.0 hPa) and all values quoted are for Sea Level. I have elected to use hPa (hectopascals) as my basic measurement of pressure as this is the modern equivalent of millibars (mb) - 1 millibar = 100 pascals. A page of conversion factors is available.
The screen display on the netbook (left) provides more information than on the station base unit without pressing buttons. It also includes graphs of the last 12 hours trend for (my settings) temperature, humidity, wind direction and speed, rainfall, and pressure. By clicking on-screen buttons, other graphs and tables can be viewed. The software also provides a facility to create web output from the data in graphic form - some of these can be seen on other pages in this site. The add-on software automatically exports and transfers by ftp some of the data in xml format, providing the input for the Flash content on the Live Weather page of this site.