General
  1. What is the difference between WOW and other similar websites?
  2. Can I see forecasts on WOW?
  3. What quality checks are done on the data submitted?
  4. Can I rely on WOW to be the single copy of my observation data (i.e. no other version exists anywhere else)?
  5. How long will WOW store the data for?
  6. Where do I find the WOW terms of use?
  7. What is the best web browser to use to get the most out of WOW?
  8. I'm using Internet Explorer 6 and I am having issues with how WOW looks and behaves.
  9. I'm using Internet Explorer and having issues with font sizes and text being hidden in form pull-down fields.
  10. What does the word 'Report' mean on the 'Site' and 'Observations' screens?
Viewing observations
  1. How can I view observations?
  2. How can I tell the quality of an observation?
  3. How can I report an observation as potentially incorrect?
  4. Can I download observation data from another user's Site for my own personal use?
  5. Is there a size or time limit to the amount of data I can export?
  6. Can I download data from multiple Sites in one export?
  7. Can anyone download data from any individual site?
  8. What data is displayed from Met Office sites?
  9. How do I compare observation data at two different sites?
  10. What timezone is used for the 'time' axis on the graphs?

Answers: General

What is the difference between WOW and other similar websites?
WOW is provided by the Met Office, the UK's National Meteorological Service, with the support and backing of both the Department for Education and the Royal Meteorological Society. WOW will be used by weather forecasters as an additional source of weather observations, which will be particularly useful in periods of severe weather such as snowfall or heavy rain. The website is intended as an observations sharing platform, where weather enthusiasts, schools and organisations can all upload and share their latest weather observations. Data from official Met Office automatic weather stations will also be available on WOW which will enable users to compare data with their own site.
Can I see forecasts on WOW?
Yes - You will see the five day summary forecast for the area local to the location of the submitted observation if you click on any icon on the map. Sites outside of the UK are not currently available.
What quality checks are done on the data submitted?
Observations sent to WOW will be monitored in two ways:
  • Firstly, a series of 'quality report' thresholds will be established across the UK to prevent obvious extremes from being entered.
  • Secondly, the web site will be self-regulatory with other users being encouraged to query and ultimately remove false information.
The website is intended as an observations sharing platform, where weather enthusiasts, schools and organisations can all upload and share their latest weather observations, so therefore, the Met Office make no warranty, representation or guarantee that the content is error free or fit for your intended use. To the fullest extent permitted by law, the Met Office disclaims all liability for direct or indirect loss of whatever kind and on whatever basis, due to the use of any data provided through WOW.
Can I rely on WOW to be the single copy of my observation data (i.e. no other version exists anywhere else)?
The Met Office does not offer any guarantees regarding storage and recovery of data you have submitted. We therefore recommend that you keep backup copies of your weather observation data.
How long will WOW store the data for?
Currently any data submitted to the website is being kept indefinitely, however this policy will be reviewed every twelve months.
Where do I find the WOW terms of use?
Click on the "Legal" link at the bottom of the website.
What is the best web browser to use to get the most out of WOW?
WOW has been designed against web standards from the W3C to work in any of the modern browsers on Windows, OS X and Linux. It uses some of the latest web technologies and therefore we believe your experience of WOW and general web browsing will be improved by using the latest version of your preferred browser. Any of the following would provide an optimal experience:
I'm using Internet Explorer and having issues with font sizes and text being hidden in form pull-down fields.
Internet Explorer 8 and earlier offered 'View>Zoom' and 'View>Text Size' as ways of changing the size of on-screen elements. 'Text Size' is an old concept and does not work correctly. We recommend you set 'Text Size' to 'Medium' and use the 'Zoom' feature if you need to make page text/elements larger/smaller. Most browsers allow you to use CTRL and '+' and CTRL and '-' to zoom in/out of a page.
What does the word 'Report' mean on the 'Site' and 'Observations' screens?
The 'Report' links allow you to alert a Moderator if there is some inappropriate text or image on a 'Site Details' page. The 'Report' link when viewing observations allows you to alert the information provider that you think some of the data contained within the observation may be suspect and they may want to investigate.

Answers : Viewing observations

How can I view observations?
From the map, you can use the time slider to find Sites that have reported an observation within the selected timeframe. Clicking 'Site details' or 'View observation' will then display that Site's pages where you can view observations in Table and Graph view and select various filters to view observation data. There are several ways to view observations. From the home page use the 'Search' function, more details on the 'General' Support page. Alternatively, also from the home page, on the map single click on a site pin of your choice for a viewing pane; click on 'View Full Observation' within that pane to see more detail from that site. Within a site page view the latest observation on the 'Dashboard' tab; or select the 'Table' tab and select the start and end dates for the observations you wish to view and click 'Update Table'; within the table of observations you can select 'View' to see more detail of each observation.
How can I tell the quality of an observation?
Each Site is given a Site Rating (displayed as 0-5 stars). Details of how a Site's rating is calculated are available elsewhere in the Support section. See also FAQ 1.3 - What quality checks are done on the data submitted?.
How can I report an observation as potentially incorrect?
If you suspect elements of an observation to be potentially incorrect you can report it using the 'Report this observation' red button underneath the observation.
Can I download observation data from another user's Site for my own personal use?
Yes, if the Site owner has indicated they are willing for their data to be downloaded.
Is there a size or time limit to the amount of data I can export?
You can currently only export one month at a time. There are no other restrictions in place.
Can I download data from multiple Sites in one export?
No.
Can anyone download data from any individual site?
If a Site owner has indicated that downloads are allowed then any registered WOW user can download data up to the currently enforced data limits outlined above in 2.5 "Is there a size or time limit to the amount of data I can export?".
What data is displayed from Met Office sites?
The Met Office sites show hourly observation reports as recorded in real time by the Met Office UK Monitoring System. It should be noted that sites will only report parameters based on the instrumentation installed at each site and we only make available those parameters published on the Met Office website. Observations are subject to final quality control by the Met Office after publication by WOW, any changes made will not be retrospectively applied to this dataset. They can be found by selecting 'Official Observations' within the 'Filters' menu on the Home page.
How do I compare observation data at two different sites?
Make a note of the Site ID's of the two sites you want to compare. You can do this by clicking on the respective sites on the map, and the 'Site ID' is the number in brackets, next to the Site Name, in the pop up window. Select one of the sites by following the same procedure as described in the 'How can I view observations?' section. Go to either the 'Graph' or 'Table' view, enter the dates you wish to compare and the Site ID of the second site in the 'Search for a Site' field. Click on 'Search Site' and then click on 'Update Table' or Update graph'. The relevant information will then be displayed. On Table view the comparison site data will be below it so you will need to scroll down the page.
What timezone is used for the 'time' axis on the graphs?
The data will be displayed in the graph using the local timezone that you have set in 'Site TimeZone' in the 'Site Details' section of 'Edit a Site'. If you are viewing data from an overseas site, be aware that your local timezone may be different from the site timezone.

Answers: Entering Observations

Do I need to sign-up/login to submit an observation?
Sign-in is required to link details of your site and your preferences to you. Sign-in is also required to enable us to block any users who repeatedly abuse the site.
When would I use 'Bulk upload'?
If you have an Automatic Weather Station (AWS) with associated software on your computer but cannot yet submit this via the Automatic Upload link, then you may be able to export your data into the required format and quickly upload significant amounts of data. The Bulk Upload option is also useful if you have historic data for your current site, or a previous site, which you would like to upload onto WOW to share with others.
Is there a maximum size for 'File upload'?
There is a maximum file upload size of 100MB.
Why is 'Sunny' not an option in Present Weather on the Quick form?
'Sunny' is deliberately omitted as a quick observation. 'Cloudless sky (day)' should be entered to cover 'Sunny' during daytime hours. The reason for this is that 'Sunny' may also be true for several of the other weather types, e.g. it can be 'Sunny and raining', but in weather observing we are always primarily interested in the worst type of weather at the time (e.g.. we are more interested that it is 'Raining' at Site X than that it is also 'Sunny'). As a general rule, in the long list of detailed Present Weather numbered options, the higher the number, the more severe the weather. If more than one option is true, users should select the more severe weather type (which is almost always the higher numbered selection).
Why is my site missing from the "My Sites" list when I try to "Enter observations"?
Ensure your site is marked "Active". Only active sites will be listed in the "My Sites" drop down list. You can make your site active by clicking on "Sites" and then selecting "Edit" next to the site you wish to make active. Ensure the "Is Site Active?" box is checked. If you do not see the 'My Sites' tab it is most likely you are not logged in.
How can I delete an Observation?
Once a Site or an observation has been created you may edit the information, but you cannot currently delete it. This is to prevent data integrity issues, for example deleting a site without first deleting the observations associated with that site. To request a Site or observation be deleted, use the "WOW Feedback" link in the bottom left hand corner of the website. Please remember to include the Site Name and Site ID and the relevant details.
Does WOW average any readings that are submitted?
No, WOW will record exactly the information that is submitted.

Answers: Site related

What is the WOW definition of a 'Site'?
A 'Site' is a location from where observations are submitted (either via automatic weather station, or manually using the "Manual" observation form). 'Sites' are sometimes also referred to as 'Stations'.
I want to submit Manual and Automatic observations at the same site. How do I do that?
As long as you have created your Authentication Key on your Site Information page then you can submit both Manual and Automatic observations.
What happens if you change the location of a site (either several metres or by many miles)?
The site location should be edited within the site details form. This will create a copy of the site positioned at the new location. Please note that the Site ID will also change - if you use an automatic weather station (that reports from the new location) it will need to be updated to use the new ID. Once the site has been moved, the version of the site at the old location should be edited again and marked as inactive (ideally with a comment explaining that it has been moved).
Can I allow other WOW users to enter observations for a Site I own?
Yes. Go to the 'My Sites' page and use the 'Invite User' link to send an invite to another user. You will need to enter theirUser ID. They will then see your Site on their Sites page under the 'Select your site' section and will be able to submit observations. If they are set as an 'Administrator' they will be able to edit the Sites Details. If not, they cannot use the 'Edit site' functionality to change any Site details.
What happens if a WOW user account is closed/deleted? Is the data still available to view for the period that the Site was operating?
Yes.
Can I delete a Site?
Once a Site or an observation has been created you may edit the information, but you cannot currently delete it. This is to prevent data integrity issues, for example deleting a site without first deleting the observations associated with that site. To request a Site or observation be deleted, use the "WOW Feedback" link in the bottom left hand corner of the website. Please remember to include the Site Name and Site ID and the relevant details.

Answers: Data formats

Where can I see an explanation of the various data items used on WOW?
Please refer to the Data Formats support page.
What do 'Standard' and 'Alternative' mean with regard to Units?
With a few exceptions (e.g. Wind speed), Standard uses Metric units and Alternative uses Imperial units. Please refer to the Standard vs. Alternative table to see details of which units are used.
Can I set my Unit display preference?
Yes. Go to your Account page where you can specify your preferred unit. Click 'Save Profile' to commit the changes to WOW.

Answers: Automatic Weather Stations (AWS)

What AWS devices does WOW support?
WOW aims to be device independent. WOW offers a web service that is open to any manufacturer who wishes to enable their device and associated software with the ability to automatically submit observation data to WOW.
What weather station software does WOW support?
WOW aims to be software independent. WOW offers a web service that is open to any software supplier who wishes to enable their software with the ability to automatically submit observation data to WOW.
My device/software does not appear to be supported. What can I do?
One option may be to read the data from your AWS and submit this information manually using the Manual observation form. Secondly, you may be able to export data gathered from your AWS into a compatible file format and use the 'File upload' function. If neither of these options are possible then we suggest you contact the manufacturer of your device and/or software and encourage them to add support for WOW within their product.
Where can I see the format required to submit automatic observations?
Information on AWS data feeds.
Can I send a test observation to check my equipment is working correctly with WOW?
Yes. Create a site name that starts with the word TEST and use this site to check your equipment and settings. Once you are confident that everything is working this site should be marked as inactive within the site details form, and a new site created.
How frequently should I upload observations from my AWS?
It is recommended that the interval between automatic observations from your AWS is at least 5 minutes.

Answers: Sign-up and your Account

How do I Register for WOW?
Follow the link on the WOW Homepage or from here: https://register.metoffice.gov.uk/WaveRegistrationClient/register.do?service=weatherobservations.
I'm having problems registering for the website.
If you are having problems registering then please check the following:
  • Ensure that your 'Username' is at least 5 characters in length and is different to both your email address and your password;
  • Ensure that your 'Username' is available
  • Ensure that your password is at least 9 characters in length, including at least 1 number, 1 upper case letter, 1 lower case letter and 1 special character. Your password must be different to your username
  • Ensure that you have completed all mandatory fields, which are:
    • First name;
    • Family name;
    • Username;
    • Password;
    • Confirm password;
    • Email;
    • Verification Code;
    • The two 'Customer survey' questions;
    • The three 'Customer survey' questions;
    • The 'Terms & Conditions' checkbox
If you still have problems Registering then please contact us: enquiries@metoffice.gov.uk.
I already have a Met Office account for other services. How do I sign-up for WOW?
Follow the link on the WOW Homepage or from here: https://register.metoffice.gov.uk/WaveProfileManagementClient/subscribeL2.do?service=weatherobservations&orUrl=/premium/myservices.
Are my personal details (e.g. email address) available for others to see?
No. Your name and email address are not stored in WOW. They are stored securely within another Met Office system to allow your single account to be used to access other Met Office services if required. You should also be wary of, and try to avoid, putting any personal information or information which may identify you in any of the web site fields.
How can I change my personal details and password?
You can change your personal preferences by going to the Account page and changing the relevant information. Your password can be changed by following the link from there to the "Met Office Accounts page".
Why has my account been locked/deleted?
There are a number of possible reasons. Please contact us to discuss. For contact details visit http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/about-us/contact.

Answers: Education users

Is there a special registration process for schools and teachers?
The logon process is the same, however schools should use their school name within the site name and should identify that they are a school within the site details during the initial site setup.
How is the Department for Education involved in WOW?
The Department for Education has supported the development and launch of WOW because one of the main aims of the website is to engage young people with the weather, hopefully providing a tool which helps make lessons and learning about the weather more interesting and immediately relevant.

Answers: Photos

How do I upload a photo?
There are several ways you can upload an image, these are explained in the Photos section of the Support pages.
How do I review a photo that I've uploaded?
This depends on how you have uploaded your image, the various ways you can review your photo are explained in the Photos Support pages.
Why can't I see a photo that I've uploaded?
If an image is reported by another user of the website to the Moderators, then the Moderators may have removed it from the website. However, a Moderator would normally send you a message if this had occurred. On rare occasions, there are technical processing problems and photos do not get uploaded as expected. Try to upload the photo again and let us know if the problem continues by using the "WOW Feedback" link in the bottom left hand corner of the screen.
Why do I see a 'No image available' graphic and not the image I've uploaded?
On rare occasions, there are technical processing problems and photos do not get uploaded as expected. Try to upload the photo again and let us know if the problem continues by using the "WOW Feedback" link in the bottom left hand corner of the screen.
Why do I see an 'Image awaiting resizing' graphic and not the image I've uploaded?
When you upload a photo, it is passed through a re-size process to change all images to the same size and to save on storage requirements.

Answers: WOW Feedback

How do I provide feedback on WOW?
Use the "WOW Feedback" link in the bottom left hand corner of the screen.
What happens when I submit feedback?
We are a receptive organisation and are always pleased to receive feedback. If you write to us using the "WOW Feedback" link your message will be automatically directed to the Met Office Weather Desk to ensure that the information is logged and appropriate actions are taken, if required. In the majority of cases it will then be dealt with in two ways:
  1. If it is of a technical nature, for example your WOW site isn't working properly or you can't seem to load data, this will be escalated to our Technical Team(s) for investigation. If we cannot resolve the problem, and it needs a long term fix, or we are already working on that particular issue as advised to us by others, we will let you know.
  2. If you are providing feedback about something we can do to refine the WOW site, this will be collated and forwarded to the relevant Team who are working in the background to make WOW even better and more exciting. Where technically possible and financially viable, future software releases will incorporate some of the changes our WOW contributors are telling us they would like to have. Indeed a lot of the improvements already made are as a direct result of such feedback.