Image: Met Office
A weather website launched in March this year by the Royal Meteorological Society and the Met Office – with support from the Department of Education – is proving to be a runaway success. The Weather Observations Website (WOW) has received over 12.5 million weather observations from weather enthusiasts all over the world, equating to over 45,000 observations a day.
The aim of the project was to help educate children about the weather and encourage further growth in the UK's amateur weather observing community, creating the UK's largest source of weather observations. However interest has spread far beyond UK borders with the WOW site receiving observations from weather enthusiasts in 116 countries across the world. Storuman in Sweden has provided the most northern observation, Whitehorse in Canada is the most western, while Oamaru and Wairoa in New Zealand, have provided the most southern and eastern observations submitted to the site so far.
Prof Paul Hardaker Chief Executive of Royal Meteorological Society is delighted with the high number of observations. "The weather observations website has been a real success in encouraging people to send in their observations", he said. "These are now on a scale to make a tangible difference in improving the public weather service. It's yet another good example of the important contribution that members of the public can make when it comes to understanding our weather and climate."
Aidan Green, Land and Marine Observations Manager at the Met Office is also happy with the results, saying, "WOW has really captured the imagination of weather enthusiasts. It demonstrates how easy it is for anyone to get involved and share current weather observations to generate a picture of how the weather varies from place to place and moves across the world."
However it hasn't stopped with the weather observations. User feedback has led to a number of site improvements, including:
•Quick observations can now be entered by anyone, even if the user is not logged in, which means it will be quick and easy for any member of the public to let us know about the conditions where they are, especially during severe weather such as snow.
•The ability to compare a site with the nearest Met Office site at the click of a button for the UK and parts of Europe, allowing weather enthusiasts to see how their own readings compare.
•Images can be easily uploaded at the time of submitting observation, which can then instantly be seen on the map or in the new "Photo Gallery" view.
•New icons and layers have been added to the map on the homepage including rainfall for improved user interaction.
Both the Royal Meteorological Society and the Met Office believe that there is still huge potential for WOW, with plans to further develop links with education providers and grow the network of international observations. So grab a thermometer, head outdoors and add your contribution to the 12.5 million others.