What is WOW (Weather Observations Website)?
The 'Weather Observations Website' (WOW) reflects recent advances in technology and how weather observations can be made. At the same time, the growing world of social networking online makes it relatively easy for anyone to get involved and share their weather observations.
The Met Office is helping to co-ordinate the growth of the weather observing community in the UK, by asking anyone to submit the observations they are taking. This can be done using all levels of equipment, so there are no cost restrictions.
Searching for a location
Sites are stored within WOW using lat/long co-ordinates. You can enter these directly or enter a place or postcode and click 'Locate on map' which will automatically show the location on the map and populate the lat/long fields.
As WOW will allow information to be submitted from anywhere in the world the easiest way to locate a place is to search using the format "placename, country" e.g. "Ottery St Mary, UK".
There are a number of ways that observations can be submitted which should satisfy all types of user, using a wide range of equipment, from a casual observer to a keen weather enthusiast.
This is the main form for entering a manual observation:
- From any location, without the need for any equipment, or to be logged in. If you are not logged in these observations are stored as 'Quick Observations'; but will not be stored against your user account and you will not be able to view them in the "My Quick Observations" view;
- Against a registered Site (if you are logged in)
- An associated photo can also be uploaded.
For users who own a compatible Automatic Weather Station (AWS)
- File upload
Users can upload a file of data as long as it is in the correct format for WOW. Useful if your AWS software is not yet able to send an Automatic observation or if you wish to submit a large amount of historic data.
Running a weather observation site
WOW can be used by anyone. From an individual just wanting to share the current weather status, or photo, to weather enthusiasts who make frequent observations e.g. a daily manual observation at 09:00Z, or more frequently via an Automatic Weather Station.
The Royal Meteorological Society (RMetS) provide some simple guidelines for setting up a weather station that they have kindly provided for WOW users to download.
Download the RMetS Guide (PDF) to setting up a weather station.
More detailed information about observing the weather is available within "The Observer's Handbook", available online from the Met Office Publications Archive. This is a historical document, last published in 1982 and reprinted in 2000.
Some of the information may no longer represent current Met Office practices, but much of the content is still valid and of interest to weather professionals and enthusiasts alike.
Signing-up for WOW
Firstly, it's free. There are no charges for using WOW. All you need to do is complete a short sign-up form. This will provide you with a login to WOW, which can also be used for other current and future online Met Office services. If you already have a login to an existing online service, you can add WOW to the list of Met Office services that account has access to within your account page.