We are delighted to see the first school in Ireland on the WOW-IE map – St. Mary’s National School in Donnybrook, Dublin 4! Met Éireann would like to honour this milestone as part of Science Week 2020 – our main article for this is here.
Last December we announced WOW-IE our new Weather Observations Website. WOW-IE is a platform which collates weather observation information from private and official sources and shares it online. This free online service allows anyone with an interest in weather to view real-time values of temperature, pressure, wind and more.
Before WOW-IE, there were approximately 10 private weather stations in Ireland uploading observations to the WOW database, which is owned and managed by the UK Met Office. The data from those stations could only be viewed on Met Office WOW and similar websites run by some other National Meteorological Services.
We developed WOW-IE, using the WOW database, to have a version for Ireland and to upload our Met Éireann weather station data to it also. There are now approximately 40 private weather stations and 90 Met Éireann weather stations displaying observations on the WOW-IE map, and we hope this will continue to increase, thus improving the Irish weather observing network and help Met Éireann forecasters to get more information on real-time* weather around Ireland.
WOW-IE is for everyone who has an interest in weather or climate – farmers, businesses, environmentalists, teachers and schoolchildren. It is a weather and climate education and data comparison tool. In this regard, we hoped that schools in particular would see the benefit of having a weather station on their grounds uploading observations to WOW-IE.
Visit WOW-IE on desktop or view the mobile-friendly page on your smartphone
What can students learn on WOW-IE? Here are some examples…
- Track the changes in temperature, wind speed, rainfall and air pressure at the school during a storm
- Compare the data from their weather station with that of a nearby Met Éireann station, using it as a reference. Consider if any environmental factors are the reason for a difference
- Compare the data from two stations near each other at different elevations or different location type (coastal vs mountainous), to see how change in height or location can affect the temperature, wind speed etc.
- Checking the observations gives the students an appreciation of the numerical values of weather, eg 10°C feels cool outside, but 13°C feels ok! Or to be able to see that 3mm of rain fell in that heavy shower that just passed over us.
- Its potential as a great student-led project – install the weather station, connect to the software and set up the data communication upload to WOW-IE
Evelyn Cusack Visits St. Mary’s National School
On 13th November, our Head of Forecasting, Evelyn Cusack, visited St. Mary’s School to see the weather station and give a talk to the students all about the weather. She really enjoyed her visit to the school while observing all the COVID-19 protocols.
The 6th class students were lovely and really interested in the weather. I explained a little about the atmosphere and air masses and spotted a few budding physicists and engineers. A good observational network is one of the building blocks in constructing a weather forecast so thanks to David Parkinson who voluntarily helped set up this WOW station in Dublin. I would love for stations to be set up in schools the length and breadth of Ireland so hopefully other schools countrywide will be inspired by this article – Evelyn Cusack
Aonghus O Briain, 6th class teacher, told us that the staff and students have a very practical use for the observations from their weather station by checking it to plan their day there, particularly for their sports and other outdoor activities. They check the website daily to see if there was rain at it overnight- this would affect the pitch conditions, and the temperature and wind speed at the school is useful in deciding how well to wrap up, this is especially important as their classrooms are ventilated.
* Met Éireann does not correct or review WOW data, hence incorrect values or missing data may occur, even from official stations