La Crosse Technology Weather Station

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Microclimates

By: Alfonso de Garay
      March 23, 2014



Table of Contents:
 
- Particular Weather Conditions
- Multiple Microclimates
- Weather Reports and Local Microclimate
- Microclimate and personal Weather Stations

Partcular weather conditions


Microclimates are particular weather conditions that can be present in specific geographical areas (that may range from backyards to hundreds of square miles), where temperature, wind speed, atmospheric pressure, humidity, rainfall, and/or snow levels can differ from weather conditions affecting surrounding lands.
 
Particular weather conditions in well-defined geographical areas can occur because of their elevation with regard to their surroundings; the topography of the area can affect wind speeds, or weather conditions can be affected if the land is located on a slope, facing north or south, receiving more or less sun, or if near a woody area where heat from the sun is absorbed. Also to be considered is if this land is near a river, a lake with low temperatures, or located near industrial or in urbanized areas where the sun’s energy is absorbed but then returned by construction and pavement.
More information here.
 


Multiple Microclimates
 
Frequently, well-known geographical areas are part of news weather reports because of the unusual differences in temperatures and amounts of rainfall or snow they receive in comparison with nearby locations. Microclimates are present in many places around the world.
Examples include the area around San Francisco, which has multiple microclimates and significant temperature variations even within short distances near the ocean
; the Sussex County snowbelt in New Jersey receives more snow than any other area of the state; the Grand Canary Islands is a rich area for microclimate systems as is land around the Great Lakes.
The coffee plantations near Chiapas, Mexico, also feature a microclimate as do the mountains, with tropical humidity and not too cold temperatures, and urban centers with a particular climate or weather conditions are especially different from nearby areas.
 
Weather Report and Local Microclimate
 
Interested or dedicated weather fans want to better understand their local weather conditions to forecast more accurately their own microclimate weather, even though generally accurate weather reports may be received from the media. Most of the time, these weather reports will not provide data for smaller areas included within the larger region.
 
Weather stations may be helpful for providing a microclimate weather forecast for a specific area.  Nevertheless, to better understand their particular weather conditions, dedicated weather fans may need to consider in addition to general weather forecasts from the media for broad zones the data from local weather stations, including information regarding elevation compared with nearby areas, which could mean lower temperatures; if this particular area receives more or less sun exposure, depending on whether or not it is located on a north- or south-facing slope or in a flat land; and if there are nearby forests, lakes, or rivers with low temperatures, producing a higher degree of humidity; and how the area’s orography may affect wind direction, which could affect its microclimate. For more information click here.
 
 
Microclimates and personal weather stations
 
Vendors that sell weather stations indicate that weather station forecasts are about 70 percent accurate. This accuracy can be fine-tuned by dedicated weather fans that understand how topography can affect the area’s microclimate.
 
Suppose that you live near (a mile away) a forest or on a hill (approximately 1000' above the city). You may live on a slope facing south that receives warm air that rises late in the afternoon from the city. You have also noticed when comparing your weather station data with media weather reports that temperatures at your location are, on average, 6ºF (3ºC) below the valley temperatures, and humidity levels are constantly higher than those in the city.
 
Your weather station forecast might indicate that tomorrow will be a cloudy day and moderately cold. You also know that the weatherman on TV expects a humid, cloudy day with strong winds from the east across the valley and surrounding hills. Some rain is expected in the afternoon, with temperatures ranging from 54ºF to 68ºF (12ºC to 20 ºC). Then you may consider that warm air that generally rises from the city to your microclimate will be deviated west, and the temperature may drop more than 6ºF below expected valley levels at night, and that you can expect rain as well.
 
This is just a very simplified example of the kind of data that you may want to consider when trying to make your own weather forecasts more accurate and useful.

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