WOW - The Weather Observations Website - provides an online weather community in Australia where everyone can share information and photos about the weather. This free online service lets you view and contribute historic, real-time or automated weather observations, sightings and weather snaps, or simply send in a quick report such as "Thunderstorm on the horizon!"
Bureau of Meteorology Youtube Channel
WOW is for everyone interested in weather who wants to share and exchange information in an online community environment. It's a great resource for weather enthusiasts, educators, farmers, gardeners and anyone with an interesting weather photo or weather fact to contribute.
How you can 'share your weather' and make a difference
The independent information you submit to WOW increases knowledge of weather and climate, as well as raising awareness of unrecorded weather events. This leads to better informed communities, in remote, regional and local areas.
Your weather information really counts!
Here are some of the things you can do right now on WOW:
- Submit regular manual and automatic weather observations
- Upload photos or one-off 'quick' reports such as "it is hailing now", "it is foggy" or "there is a thunderstorm"
- View data on maps, and also in tables and graphs
- Compare your weather to local Bureau Automatic Weather Stations (AWS)
A dedicated Australian entry
WOW's success in the UK has led the Bureau of Meteorology to work with the Met Office (the UK's National Weather Service), to trial an Australian entry-point to WOW
History - in the making
WOW was developed by the Met Office. It was released in 2011 to provide a hub for UK weather observations, helping educate children about weather and encourage further growth in the UK's amateur weather observing community.
In November 2012 WOW won "Best Use of Cloud Services" and "IT Project Demonstrating Most Effective Use of Collaborative Technology" at the prestigious UK IT Industry Awards.
WOW's popularity continues to grow with an average of over four million observations being received every month. Please view, or register and start submitting your observations and help make WOW a success in Australia.
These Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) are related to specific aspects of WOW users in the Australian region may encounter. To learn how to use WOW, please refer to the Support pages in the WOW site.
More comprehensive FAQ's related to the general use of WOW are available on the WOW site.
1. Viewing Observations
1. Can I view Bureau observations in WOW?
Yes - All of the Bureau's near real-time Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) are ingested into WOW. A filter is provided in WOW to turn either the Bureau or WOW sites on or off.
Please note that WOW will display Bureau AWS information for: temperature, wind speed and direction, humidity, pressure, and visibility. The Bureau is working with the UK Met Office to display Bureau AWS rainfall data. This does not affect WOW users ingesting their own rainfall data into WOW.
All Bureau "latest weather" data - including rainfall - is also displayed in the Bureau's MetEye system.
2. Entering Observations
1. How do I lodge a single observation for a significant weather event such as hail storm, tornado etc.?
- From any WOW page select Enter Observations.
- Select your site from the options provided
- Check that the Observation time, date and zone is correct (change as necessary)
- Select Quick Observation
- Using the Local weather summary drop down box, choose the weather event you wish to lodge (e.g. hail)
- Select Submit Observation. View your new observation as directed. Remember to choose the Present Weather button from the weather layers box to view your new observation on the map.
2. How do I lodge regular manual weather observations such as daily rainfall?
- You will need a rain gauge to measure daily rainfall
- Register as a WOW user (or login if already registered)
- Select Sites - and create a new site (site can be used for subsequent lodgements of data)
- Select Enter Observations - and then use your site (from the list provided)
- Enter the observation date and time, e.g. 01/01/2013 09:00 (Ideally, rainfall accumulation in the last 24 hours should be measured from 09:00 of the day preceding the reading and 08:59 on the day of the reading. Enter your observation using the Rain section (units in mm)
- Select Submit Observation. View your new observation as directed (e.g. view your rain data on the map, in a table or graph).
3. How do I lodge observations from an automatic weather station?
From any WOW page select Support and then Data Formats and API's. Details on how to ingest your data into WOW are provided.
4. I think I've followed all the instructions but I still can't submit my AWS data to WOW. What should I try next?
Try these trouble shooting tips:
- Check if there are any error logs or messages in your supporting software.
- Make sure that you have entered your WOW Site ID number and your 6-digit AWS PIN correctly in your supporting software settings.
- Ensure that data is posted in UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) which maybe set in your supporting software. Do not post in local time as WOW assumes all data submitted is in UTC.
- Check that your computer's operating system does not have any firewalls that restricts messages being sent to WOW (e.g. Windows 8 has a built-in firewall).
Once you think all the settings are correctly entered:
- Send a test observation to check that your equipment is working correctly with WOW. Create a site name in WOW that starts with the word TEST and use this site to check your equipment and settings. Once you are confident that everything is working (data is being successfully submitted) this site should be marked as inactive within the site details form, and a new site created.
Still having problems?
- e-mail WOWFeedback@bom.gov.au (or use the WOW feedback form) and provide details of your site and connection issues. Error logs from your site may be retrieved by the Met Office to diagnose any problems.
- You can also send a post for help to the Google Forum where other WOW users can give advice. https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/met-office-wow. Once you are connected, share your AWS site installation and WOW connection experience on the Forum so others can learn and set up their own stations.
5. Can I lodge manual data in local time?
Yes - The default time in WOW is UTC (Coordinated Universal Time), an international 24 hour time and date standard which is the same as GMT (Greenwich Mean Time).
Once logged into WOW, select Account and choose your local time zone and then Save Profile. Your local time zone will now be used every time you log into WOW.
6. As an existing WOW user in Australia, will I have to re-establish my site/s or login in the new Bureau WOW?
No - You don't need to do anything, as there is only one WOW database. The Bureau has simply created an entry point into the system. A few modifications have been made (such as use of local time) to promote the system's use and enhance the user experience for Australians.
7. There is a function to submit weather impacts - are they relevant to Australia?
Users the world over can submit information on weather impacts using WOW. The type and severity of these impacts have been designed for UK environmental conditions, but many still have general relevance to Australia (e.g. damage to infrastructure or property from hail storms). In time more impacts relevant to Australian conditions may be added, including impacts from cyclones and tornadoes.
8. Can a network of stations be automatically submitted to WOW?
Yes - The Bureau encourages all owners of either single stations or meteorological networks of all sizes to submit their automated observations to WOW. Go to the WOW support page to find out how to import your data into WOW.
If you need further information, owners of networks anywhere in Australia can contact the Bureau's WOW Project Manager via: WOWfeedback@bom.gov.au.
9. I already share my data with another automatic self-lodgement system, can I also submit data to WOW?
Yes - The Bureau encourages all those who submit their data elsewhere to also provide their data to WOW. Contact your software supplier to add the necessary WOW protocols if you don't already have this capability. If you are sharing your data for the first time in WOW, consider also sharing it with other self-lodgement systems.
10. I don't want to buy a weather station but would still like to contribute. Can I do this?
Yes - You don't need a weather station to contribute to WOW. You can submit weather reports (including your visual observations), weather photos and, if you have any type of rain gauge in the garden, manually submit daily rainfall records for your location.
11. I have rainfall records for my location dating back many years. Can I submit this historical data into WOW?
Yes - Have a look at the bulk upload function in WOW to submit historical data. Such data may be valuable and WOW can provide a safe repository so the data is not lost.
3. Weather Stations
1. Does the Bureau recommend any weather stations for use in WOW?
No - Users are encouraged to find instruments suited to their location, personal use needs and budget. There is a great range of instruments ranging from cheaper, entry level stations costing a few hundred dollars to professional systems worth many thousands. All are appropriate for use in WOW. Check with your supplier that you can connect to WOW.
2. How can I best set up my weather station?
Setting up your weather station to Bureau specifications will achieve the highest quality data rating. However, these specifications are a guide only and many sites will not conform to these stringent standards. Documenting your site conditions, whatever they are, in WOW will enable your valuable observations to be useful.
- Rain Gauge - an open area 300mm above ground free of obstructions such as trees and buildings (ideally the site should be twice the height of obstructions distant from those obstructions).
- Anemometer (for wind speed) - 10m above ground level on a mast in an open area free of obstructions such as trees and buildings.
- Temperature and humidity sensors - in a shaded well ventilated white enclosure at a height of 1.2m above ground level.
- The ground surface should be natural grass mowed to a couple of cm high. Concrete or bitumen surfaces are to be avoided as the retained heat affects overnight temperatures.
Please Note: Photos of your weather station should ideally be uploaded in WOW. Site photos help users of the data judge the quality of instrument siting and the impact on the observations. View Bureau Guidelines for the Siting and Exposure of Meteorological Observations for detailed specifications.
4. The Bureau's role in WOW
1. Who provides WOW for the Australian region?
The UK Met Office own, host, maintain and conduct all development of WOW. The Bureau has entered into an agreement with the UK Met Office to collaboratively use and promote WOW in Australia and develop the system as needed.
2. Can I see Australian forecasts provided by the Bureau in WOW?
No - the Bureau's forecasts for Australian weather have not been integrated into WOW. For all official Australian forecasts and warnings go to the Bureau's website.
3. How long will the Bureau trial the demonstration WOW site?
WOW was originally designed for the UK Met Office and focuses on weather phenomena specific and common to the UK. The demonstration of WOW allows the Bureau to assess how WOW can be improved to best suit the Australian environment and better serve user needs into the future. The demonstration phase, originally planned to end on 30 June 2014, has been extended to 30 June 2015 so some new and exciting enhancements to WOW can be made.
4. What happens after June 2015?
In the event that the Bureau decides not to continue to support WOW beyond the demonstration phase the site would revert to a UK Met Office only service. All submitted observations would continue to be available.
In this disclaimer, 'this website' means the website located at http://bom-wow.metoffice.gov.uk
This website is not a source of official weather data and information for the Australian region. Although the Bureau of Meteorology is involved in the operation of WOW System in the Australian Region, the Bureau's involvement is limited. The Bureau may not see and does not rely upon or otherwise use data and material shared via this website. As such you should not place any reliance upon such data or material for any reason. For official Australian data, forecasts and warnings, go to www.bom.gov.au.
The Bureau does not, expressly or impliedly, make any claim or representation, or give any warranty (including as to accuracy, reliability, currency, completeness or fitness for any purpose), in relation to any data or material shared via this website.
To the maximum extent permitted by law, the Bureau of Meteorology excludes (and by using the website you accept) all liability for any loss, damage, cost, expense and any other consequence arising directly or indirectly from or connected with your use of this website and any data or material available from it.
Not official weather data
Data and material available on this website:
- may not be viewed, and is not quality checked or approved, by the Bureau
- may not be accurate, reliable, current or complete
- is subject to change without notice
- may include views or recommendations which do not necessarily reflect the views of the Bureau of Meteorology or indicate the Bureau's commitment to a particular course of action
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- connections transmitted to and from this website being intercepted and modified by third parties
Links to External Web Sites
The Bureau of Meteorology has no direct control over the content of any linked websites, or the changes that may occur to the content on those websites. You accept responsibility to make your own decisions about the accuracy, currency, reliability and correctness of information contained in linked external websites.
Links to external websites do not constitute an endorsement or a recommendation of any material on those websites or of any third party products or services offered by, from or through those websites. If you choose to access a link provided by this website, you are responsible for being aware of which organisation is hosting the website you visit.
If the Bureau of Meteorology receives your personal information from feedback via this website, your personal information:
- will be used for the purpose of responding to feedback submitted via this website
- will be stored securely by the Bureau and protected from unauthorised access or misuse
- may be sent to the Met Office if the Bureau believes that the issue you have identified relates to the WOW system
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