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Collecting Weather Data from Nearby Weather Stations

While it is preferable to install the necessary components of a weather station on site for field tests, that is not always feasible, for reasons of time or cost. In place of site collected weather data, weather stations maintained by airports, military bases and municipal governments (to name a few sources) can be retrieved through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). A complete set of hourly climatological data is available for hundreds of sites around the country. The data is free to anyone with .gov, .edu, .mil, .k12, .us and other selected domains; for all others, there is a small fee per month of data. 

To retrieve this data:

  1. Go to: NOAA's Local Climatological Database
  2. If the desired weather station is known, choose the appropriate state and continue.
    1. Locate the weather station from the available list.
  3. If the most appropriate weather station is not yet known, choose to search by map.
    1. Click the information bubble in the top left toolbar.
    2. Click on the red dot closest to the field test site.
    3. In the pop-up window, click the icon in the far left column to retrieve data.
  4. Select the month and year of desired data.
  5. Select either E for the entire month or the select days of interest. Then select the “AASCII Download (Hourly Obs.) (10A)” button to receive a common delimited text file of the requested data.

Of the sites that are found on the Quality Controlled Local Climatological Data site, a number of stations only provide dry bulb temperature, wind speed at 1.5 meters and precipitation. These stations are a part of the U.S. Climate Reference Network and the station name will be preceded by CRN in the list of stations by state. More sophisticated weather stations will include wet bulb temperature, dew point temperature, relative humidity, wind direction, and station pressure.