Solar and air quality data

New data is now available on multiple pages to incorporate solar radiation, sunshine and air quality following the start of recording these parameters from 26 December 2020. These sensor were installed along with the change to using a Weatherlink Live receiving unit between 19 and 22 December 2020, which were then tested for compatibility with our processes and existing data.

The following pages have been updated with additional data:

  • The home page: the solar and air quality data have been added to the real time updates on the home page, sunshine/ night-time bands have been added to the real-time graph, the station forecast have been removed and a Bureau of Meteorology forecast added
  •  Gauges: A gauge for solar radiation was added
  •  Today and Yesterday: Averages, Totals and Extremes for Solar, Insolation, Sunshine and Air Quality added
  •  System Status: Reworked to align with the system changes and to provide additional system information now available with this change
  •  Glossary: Updated with additional terms of Air Quality, Insolation, Solar Radiation and Sunshine.

 A routine now runs at the start of each day to collate the air quality data into an additional daily database table used in the Historical graphs. The Realtime database table was altered to include air quality data. A monthly air quality database is also populated with data each 5 minutes.

A combination of our regular data updating on the website and these Realtime and Monthly database tables are used to update the tables and graphs on the website. The Realtime and Monthly database tables are also used as in the input to update the daily air quality database table.

Coming soon will be the addition of UV data. Also air quality data for the this month, this year and all-time records is also planned. Additional data will need to added to the daily database table in order to show that data along with the date and time of the occurrences.

Under progress is the calculation of daily potential evapotranspiration and possibly evaporation now that we are measuring solar radiation. Due to limitations with the system I am using it appears these will have to be calculated, rather than supplied by the weather station directly. These are rather complex multi-step calculations, so considerations are being made with the practicalities of that and what data will be shown from that on the website.

September 2020 weather review

The review of the weather at Ferny Grove during September 2020 is now available.

During September 2020 overnight temperatures were above average and were the highest in 10 years. Similarly to August 2020, the month saw very few cool nights and many warm nights throughout the month. The 18th to 25th saw overnight temperatures peak at 9 ºC above average. Daytime temperatures were close to average and saw a mixture of above and below average temperatures.

Rainfall in September was below average but was close to the long term median, with a total of 14.2 mm (42.7% of the long term average). The long term rainfall for September is generally quite low, hence the close to median rainfall. While the rainfall total was quite low and continuation of the trend of low monthly rainfall totals, the year to date rainfall however remains above average at 9.8 % above the long term average and the highest since 2015. Low daily rainfall totals with light showers during some days during the month. A thunderstorm passed to the south on the 25th, as well as another thunderstorm to the north and brought a brief light shower.

Long period rainfall totals remained well below average during most periods while deteriorating further. 6 monthly rainfall fell significantly to 161.7 mm below average being more than 6 months since significant rainfall at the start of the year. 9 monthly rainfall was 79.4 mm above average while 12 to 48-month rainfall was between 72.4 mm below average for 12 month rainfall and 245.3 mm below average for 24 month rainfall.

The summary containing the key information can be found here.

The full report of more detailed analysis is available here.

Website analytics

A new page is now available that has been in development lately of a different nature to the existing content on the website. We use the privacy friendly open source website analytics platform Matomo that is hosted on-premises where we fully own the data that allows us to understand the usage and interest in this service we provide.

This website analytics data have been used to determine whether there is a correlation between the visits are made to the website compared to amount of the rainfall at the time and to test whether visitor activity is stronger during wetter weather. From this it have been discovered that at this time that while a lot of visits are made when there is no rainfall, when expressed in percentage terms that there is a general trend in more interest in the website during wetter weather, whilst visits across the range of rainfall totals are very consistent.

This information of visits by rainfall have been published on the new page as four charts using this information calculated from our databases. In addition to this, more standard summarised data over time of the number of visits, the type of devices used and the visits made by returning and frequently returning visitors. On that page are explanations of the definitions relating to this data and also there are key metric for various periods to provide a quick summary.

Thank you to all those who have shown an interest in this website and the many who have come back to this website many times. I have been quite surprised at the strong visitor activity that has occurred and there is clearly an interest on local real-time weather data. This website is in continued development with completed new works announced on this blog in addition to updates to the website that are mentioned on our Website Info page.

The below information is provided to share how this page is put together at this time for anyone who want to have more understanding of this. Both the analytics data and weather data are stored in MySQL databases, which are both used to create four database tables containing the data for the four graphs for the visits by rainfall. These calculations use table joins and appropriate aggregations to produce the data to allow for a fair comparison. But because these are quite complex calculations the database queries are not executed when a graph is viewed as retrieving the current data will add significant time to load the graph.

So given that this data doesn’t change too quickly, a SQL procedure is executed once a month to update the data for when someone visits the page. The SQL code used in that procedure is similar to the below example. The methodology used is that a table is created to calculate the amount of rainfall in the previous 24 hours for each hour during the past year, of which this data is not readily available in the database. This is derived by first calculating the rain for each hour, then the cumulative rainfall during the last year for each hour and then calculate the amount of rainfall for each hour compared to the same time in the previous day.

Once we have that data then table joins are used to merge the analytics data to this rainfall data for each of the four tables. Finally at the end the rainfall data is deleted, as the data is no longer needed.

The other graphs that don’t compare the rainfall by visits use php scripts to run a query to retrieve the necessary information from the database and insert that data into arrays in a format that the Highcharts graphs can use. This is quite similar to the other graphs on the website. The Javascript code for the highcharts is heavily based on the graphs elsewhere on this website, which is accessible through viewing the page source code. From the Javascript code the code of the php scripts used as the data input can be accessed by appending a ?view=sce to the url.

The summary statistics at the top of the page uses data from a php script that contains a series of variables whose values are assigned from the result of SQL queries. That php script is used as an php include in the web page like this: include './utils/SQL-queries/analyticsData.php'; and the variables in that script are used within the table such as: <?php echo $visits7day ?>

Similarly a php script is used to return a variable for populating the update time for the visits by rainfall data. This is quite simple in that it returns the distinct updated_time field of the one of the database tables containing this data and the query is formatted in php to show the date in the required date format.

These are the SQL statements to calculate the summary statistics in the table:

And these are the SQL statements to return the data for the graphs excluding the visits by rainfall which while a php script also retrieves that data, those queries are very basic because the data is already pre-generated.

New graphs

In the past month two new pages are available that show recent and historical data as charts for various parameters. This data is drawn from the weather station database each time one of these graphs are viewed. These new pages are:

  • Historic Graphs that shows the historical data for the various parameters summarised as daily, monthly and annually. This uses data from the entire station record of the past 9 to 11 years (depending on the parameter). Among these graphs is the plotting of the long term average for each month of the year, along with the highest and lowest measurement made.
  • Hourly Data Graphs shows the average value for each hour for the past 30 days compared to the long term average for the respective hour and month. Also plotted is a dashed line of the hourly average value. This allows to view the trends summarised as hour over time and see how the much the plotted data is above or below average (or close to average). This calculation is a little intensive, so the graph my take a little longer to load than the other graphs because all the sub-hourly data records over the entire station record need to retrieved from the database to determine the long term average which is then compared to the calculated average value for each hour.

May 2020 website additions

Several new pages are now available on the website using data retrieved from a database of the weather station data. These new pages are:

  • Past Month Graphs that graphically shows the data for the various parameters at 5 minute intervals for the past 30 days. This is functionally very similar to the Recent Data graphs which shows the last 7 days but at a 1 minute resolution.
  • Top 10 Records shows the Top 10 extremes measured at this station for various parameters.
  • Recent Extremes Since looks at some of the extremes for today and yesterday and compared that to the all-time extreme records and in the past for the current month by showing the last time these extremes was higher or lower.

Various other modifications that has been made and are summarised as:

  • Some bugs/ corrections with the graphing have been made with the major issues being the home page real-time graph not updating with new data after the page loads and the “Daily Temperatures” and “Daily Rainfall” graphs showing dates into the future.
  • The introduction of Past Month Graphs replaced a previously available page to show data in case of system interruptions. That was a non database data source and so this removal brought a reduction in bandwidth usage.
  • Backend improvements to the file structure, updating J Query and consolidating the graphing to use a single source of styling
  • The Seabreeze Forecast was fixed after it stopped working on the Forecasts and Observations page.
  • The station status showing the station online or off-line on the home page and similarly on the System Status have been improved. It now handles instances when the station goes off-line when issues occur or for maintenance in a more robust manner. It does that by now making these checks on all uploaded data. It also now indicates whether interruptions or going off-line is a partial issue affecting all data updating on the website or whether is only affecting some of the data.

Welcome to the blog

Today is one year to the day that this website was launched. Just over 2000 page views have been made from at least 1200 visits in the last year.

The Ferny Grove Weather website was created as a personal project to replace the existing website that was well over-due for a revamp and for the current weather data to be available online in real-time.

I would like to thank everyone for visiting this website during this time, many of who have have showed interest by returning numerous times or by providing feedback on how you like the website. It was not anticipated that this website would continue to see people visiting this website in this way. In fact during active weather events visitor activity of the number of people who visit the site would significantly increase.

I offer this weather data without warranty in the hope that it is useful. There are many people publishing weather station data through international personal weather station networks. However there are very few that run independent weather websites in our region of south east Queensland. The benefit of these websites is that they measure weather data at locations without official stations nearby with the freedom to present the data how we like to show it.

I am starting up this blog given this interest and primarily as a way to communicate that new content is available and content that is under testing/ or trial.  There is much planned to add to what we already have available involving learning different processes to deliver that data and that will take time to achieve. Additionally I would like to see this as a way to inform on how this data is produced and published if there is appetite for this information.

Please tell us if you have thoughts on what you information you would like to see on this blog.