Saturday, January 05, 2013

Everybody talks about it, but...

Long time readers might remember that I collect daily temperature and rainfall data at our house. I wish I could say that I have sensors that transmit the information directly to my computer, but I can't. I actually look at the thermometer and record, with a pencil, the daily high and low temperatures. I also have a rain gauge in the garden that I look at and empty whenever it rains. Not very high tech.

Daily high (red) and low (blue) temperatures at our house for 2012. Click to celcify.
25ºF is about 75ºF, 35ºC is about 95ºF, and 0ºC = 32ºF (freezing).

You can clearly see in the chart above those few weeks in February when we were below freezing every day. That's a rare occurrence here. Also, our mild December weather after a chilly start is obvious on the extreme right-hand side. The arc is a trend line for the high (red) temperature.

I'd like a more automated way to do this, but the system I use works for now. The thermometer, at least, is electronic and has a console in the house with a sensor outdoors. The sensor does transmit, via radio signal, the temperature as it changes throughout the day. The console remembers the highest and lowest temperatures, but I do have to remember to reset it daily.

Monthly rainfall totals for 2012 at our house. Click to pluvioumetrate.
25.4 mm = 1 inch, so 731.5 mm is just under 29 inches of rain for the year.

The rain gauge is more simple. It's a plastic graduated cylinder that I have to read and empty by hand whenever there is rain. Snow is more problematic, but I've worked out my own method for that. You can see above that October was our wettest month last year, while August was quite parched (August was also our hottest month. How 'bout that!).

I've been tracking this data for seven years, so I have somewhat of a historic record. I'll spare you all of that.

Once a month, I transcribe the data from paper to an Excel spreadsheet (my years of university and career were good for something) and manipulate it into all manner of charts and graphs. Ain't retirement grand?


  1. since you have been keeping charts pour 7 ans, do you notice a global warming trend? or a drought trend? just curious.

  2. From Kindergarten, where we learned to cut and paste, and fold along the lines, through our working careers, when we cut and pasted and copied into spreadsheets, our lives have prepared us for retirement.
    I'm scanning negatives and slides today, trying, tearing my hair out trying, to figure out the order, or at least the approximate dates. As the kids got older it became harder to remember how old they were when we went to a place I can identify. And if they're not in the pictures, forget it.

  3. That's what retirement is do ANYTHING you want.
    Good record keeping Walt, especially good to refer to when planting your garden.
    I have always been meaning to get a rain gauge....maybe this is the year to do so. Our weather pattern has changed considerably over the past few years.

  4. That is a wonderful hobby! Because of you, I bought a Smith & Hawken rain gauge 3 years ago.

  5. That's pretty cool, Walt. Not only nice (and helfpul) to have the data, but cool to see it all charted.

  6. It's great that you have this job, Walt. Who knows what kind of trouble you might get into otherwise! :)

  7. Très intéressant. Avez-vous la courbe de l'année précédente, celle où il y avait eu beaucoup de fruits ? :-).

  8. As I've mentioned to you previously I maintain Excel spreadsheets of football attendances for the four professional football codes in Australia and England's Premier League. Less relevant than the information you capture but a hobby of mine I cannot explain but am sort of addicted to. I haven't attempted the graphs and charts that you have. They look really good.

  9. anne marie, not really. Seven years isn't enough to see real trends. But our "coolest" summer was 2007, and since then they've been getting slightly warmer. And the rain has been trending up during this period, too; 2012 was the wettest since I started keeping track.

    ellen, I can relate. I've scanned a lot of slides, but certainly not my whole collection. It's quite a tedious task!

    virginiac, the records really help because I really can't remember from one year to the next. The blog is also a good record of sorts.

    nadege, cool!

    judy, one needs something to occupy one's winter days!

    bettyann, no kidding! I might cook!

    olivier, oui, je l'ai. Il a fait un peu plus chaud au printemps, avec beaucoup moins de pluie.

    victor, yes, I remember that. I also have been tracking the tennis seasons (ATP and WTA) in a spreadsheet since 2004. I don't know why, it's just fun.


Pour your heart out! I'm listening.