In recent years, the often unpredictable nature of extreme weather events means that a weather monitoring system performs a very important function. Whilst weather forecasts provide a general idea of what to expect, a weather monitoring system, like WINDCRANE, can deliver accurate live data that is location-specific.
The second half of 2017 and the start of 2018 has been characterized by extreme weather throughout the world. Major hurricanes, floods, wildfires and cold spells reveal ongoing changes in the global climate. In many cases these events have not only been intense; they have been record-breaking.
Despite 2017 being a warm year overall, the UK has battled several extreme weather events recently including 3 major storms:
- In October, the UK was struck by Hurricane Ophelia in an unprecedented event. Although it had already become a post-tropical cyclone when it reached the British Isles, Ophelia’s path was very unusual. With gusts of 100 mph, the storm caused massive damage to electrical infrastructure, leaving thousands of buildings without power. Strong winds caused wide-ranging damage to building infrastructure and fallen trees blocked many railways, disrupting transportation.
- Storm Brian reached the British Isles just a week after Hurricane Ophelia, with gusts exceeding 80 mph. Harsh weather continued even after the storm had dissipated, causing widespread flooding in north-west England and north Wales.
- During the first days of 2018, Storm Eleanor hit the British Isles with winds of up to 100 mph. The storm caused travel chaos and damage to several infrastructures. However, Northern Ireland experienced the harshest weather where the power supply was interrupted for more than 25,000 homes.
Whilst these are just some examples of extreme weather events that affected the British Isles, similar news made headlines throughout the world. Flooding in South Asia was above average during the 2017 monsoon season, Australia had the 3rd hottest year on record, and California had its most destructive wildfire season ever. The unprecedented nature of these events means that using traditional methods to monitor extreme weather events is becoming increasingly difficult.
Monitoring Extreme and Unpredictable Weather
With extreme weather ranging from drought to severe storms, having an adaptable weather monitoring system is essential. The recent pattern of record-breaking weather events highlights the limitations of current forecasting methods, which offer limited location-based forecasts and do not reflect short duration events such as wind gusts.
Using smart data technology to monitor extreme weather can help to increase preparation times, reduce potential infrastructure damage and in the event of a disaster aid response plans. During extreme weather, the affected regions can sometimes experience limited access to services such as electricity and internet connectivity because of flooding and damage caused by strong winds. Therefore, retrieving live data from affected areas can be effective in helping to predict the resulting damage.
However, the variety of extreme weather events means that the requirements of weather monitoring devices differ depending on the location. For example, a location experiencing drought requires a heat-resistant and dust-tight monitoring system. On the other hand, a device used to monitor harsh winter weather requires low-temperature resistance, water-tightness and even resistance to ice and snow formation on monitoring equipment.
What Does This Mean for Weather Monitoring Equipment?
Monitoring systems intended for extreme weather must be rugged to ensure that the data gathered serves its purpose. Monitoring the weather in extreme weather conditions comes with many challenges depending on the environment. To get the most from your system it should have the following core attributes:
- It must be able to withstand the extreme weather itself. This includes having a water-tight and corrosion-proof enclosure and being able to tolerate temperature extremes.
- The system must also be capable of extended operation without access to electric power or internet connectivity. This can be compensated with a solar panel is viable for the unit to recharge its own batteries. Ideally, the device should use a communication protocol that does not depend on local infrastructure. Additionally, it must have sufficient memory in case communications are cut off completely.
- It should be tolerant to impact. Since harsh weather can send objects flying, if the unit is struck or becomes detached from its support and falls, both impact tolerance and water-tightness help it survive.
WINDCRANE has been developed with the above features in mind to provide a durable weather monitoring solution. Using live data that is displayed in an easy to understand format, WINDCRANE can be used in many extreme weather scenarios to effectively monitor the weather.
As the weather becomes more unpredictable, having access to up to date and live measurements is essential. Record-breaking weather events reveal the limitations of current forecasting methods in providing accurate area specific predictions. Using a weather monitoring system can help you to reduce the impact of extreme weather on your operations by enabling you to plan and respond effectively.