Explanation of the Gauges

Conversation about the weather is the last refuge of the unimaginative.
Oscar Wilde, Irish Writer & Poet (1854-1900)

Scrolling Weather Ticker: The scrolling weather ticker at the top of the gauge panel displays the current forecast, weather conditions and some recent min/max weather data. The forecast is extrapolated from current conditions. The forecast algorithm uses the following variables: barometric reading & trend, wind speed & direction, rainfall, temperature, humidity, latitude & longitude and time of year. The algorithm is recalculated every hour. This is not necessarily the most accurate forecast for Timber Lakes, but it is pretty amazing, nonetheless, that we are able to use math to produce a weather forecast.

Countdown: The countdown window displays the number of seconds remaining until the gauges are updated. The gauges are updated every 30 seconds.

Popup Graphs: Hover your mouse over each gauge to see a popup graph of its weather data since midnight, along with some additional information about the gauge display.

Temperature: You can display outside or inside temperature. We don’t know why you would choose inside unless you are just curious about the climate in some stranger’s home. When displaying outside temperature, the red band on the gauge face shows today’s temperature range. The directional arrows light up to indicate whether the outside temperature is rising or falling. A neutral bar between the arrows lights up when the temperature is steady.

Alternative Temperatures: You can display Dew Point, Apparent, Wind Chill, Heat Index or Humidex. Dew Point is the temperature at which the air can no longer “hold” all of the water vapor which is mixed with it, and some of the water vapor must condense into liquid water. The Dew Point is always lower than (or equal to) the air temperature. By the way, dew is not typically included in precipitation reports (neither is frost) as condensation does not count as precipitation. Apparent, Wind Chill, Heat Index, and Humidex are different calculated temperatures that take into account the effect of wind and/or humidity on how the temperature feels to your skin. Apparent reflects the effect of wind speed and relative humidity on the temperature. Wind chill reflects the effect of wind speed on temperatures. Wind chill temperature is only defined for temperatures at or below 50°F when wind speeds are above 3 mph. Bright sunshine may increase the wind chill temperature by 10° to 18°F. The National Weather Service formula for windchill excludes relative humidity because tests show relative humidity has less than a 1°F impact on the calculation. The blue arrowhead marker on the edge of the gauge shows the lowest wind chill temperature today. Heat Index calculates the discomfort felt taking into consideration the effect of humidity on temperatures above 79°F. The red arrowhead marker on the edge of the gauge shows the highest heat index temperature today. However, the Index is not calculated for humidity levels below 40%. Therefore, to date, there has never been a Heat Index calculation for Timber Lakes that exceeds the outside temperature. Hence, in Timber Lakes during the summer, it does not feel warmer outside than the actual temperature. Humidex is the same thing as Heat Index, but is calculated with a different formula. Humidex is used by Canadian meterologists to forecast how you will feel when you go curling. We are not in Canada, but welcome our northern neighbors to enjoy our weather, eh? The red band on the gauge face shows today’s temperature range.

Humidity: You can display outside or inside humidity. The red band on the gauge face shows today’s humidity range.

Wind Speed: This gauge shows the current wind speed. The green band on the gauge face shows the range of the 10-minute wind speed average. The red band on the gauge face shows the range of 10-minute wind gusts. The red arrowhead marker on the edge of the gauge shows the highest wind gust today. A windy day is one in which winds exceed 20 mph.

Wind Direction: The primary needle (wide with a red needle tip) shows the current wind direction and the secondary needle (narrow with a longer red needle tip) shows the average wind direction over the last 10 minutes. A red band around the edge of the gauge displays the variation in wind direction during the last 10 minutes. If the average wind speed is below 3 knots (3.45 miles per hour), the red band is a thin line around the gauge perimeter. If the average wind speed is above 3 knots, the red band fills in the entire sector of the of the gauge face (3 knots is the aviation threshhold for “variable wind direction” in Europe, where these gauges were built). The absence of any red band indicates no wind during the last 10 minutes. The upper digital readout displays the current wind direction in degrees, whilst the lower digital readout displays the average wind direction of the last 10 minutes in degrees. Remember, there are 360 degrees in a circle.

Wind Rose: This gauge uses an alternate method of displaying wind direction, using a circular display. It represents the pattern of today’s wind direction. The length of the wind band reflects the amount of time the wind blew from that direction. The gauge is capable of tracking 8 values (directions) for every 45 degrees on the compass, starting at North and running clockwise. The number displayed in the LED “odometer” window is today’s wind run. Wind run is the amount of wind that passes by the weather station today, expressed in miles. Another way of thinking about wind run is: if you could mark a specific “piece” of wind and measure how many miles from the place you marked it, it would it travel before midnight, you will have calculated the wind run for today. For example, if the wind blows at 2 mph for 24 hours, the amount of wind run for that day is 48 miles.

Pressure: This gauge displays the current barometric pressure. The red band on the gauge face shows today’s pressure range. The directional arrows light up to indicate whether the pressure is rising or falling. A neutral bar between the arrows lights up when the pressure is steady. The dark red bands at either end of the gauge indicate the all-time historical range of the highest and lowest pressure readings.

Rainfall: This gauge displays moisture recorded today. During the winter, the measurement is the amount of moisture in today’s snowfall. Winter snow water measurement is made possible by a rain collector cup heater.

Rain Rate: This gauge displays the rate of precipitation recorded in the current hour. The red arrowhead marker on the edge of the gauge shows the highest rain rate today.

UV Index: This gauge provides a forecast of the expected risk of overexposure to the sun. The ultraviolet index or UV Index is an international standard measurement of the strength of UV radiation from the sun. The Index predicts UV intensity levels on a scale of 0 to 10+, where 0 indicates no risk of overexposure and 10 or more signifies an extreme risk.

Solar Radiation: This gauge measures sunlight. It displays the amount of current solar radiation expressed in watts per square meter. Solar radiation is the radiation and heat from the sun in the form of electromagnetic waves. When this energy reaches the earth’s surface it is called insolation. According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) – you know they are legitimate because they are headquartered in Geneva Switzerland – sunshine hours are only computed when direct solar irradiance exceeds a threshold value of 120 W/m². This gauge displays the answer to the burning question: Is the sun shining? The yellow band on the gauge face shows the current threshold range, in which (or above which) it is deemed that the sun is shining. This is a crude mathematical attempt to identify when the conditions are such that a human being would say that the sun is shining (even though the sun shines all the time – if the sun ever stops shining, you will not be reading this gauge as you will be dead). If the yellow band is entirely missing from the gauge face, it is probably dark outside, as in night time. The red band on the gauge face shows the current solar radiation range. The lower limit of the red band indicates the calculated solar maximum value, so if the needle strays into the red band it is reading > 100% of theoretical. There is nothing wrong with that; there are valid reasons why it happens, primarily reflections (this is gobbledygook for “it’s too hard to explain but trust us, it’s ok”). The red arrowhead marker on the edge of the gauge shows the highest level of solar radiation recorded today. The LED light at the bottom center of the gauge lights up yellow when the math says the sun is shining. You may not have realized there was this much math involved in looking at weather gauges. This gauge’s popup graph displays the Current Theoretical Maximum Reading, which is derived using the Ryan-Stolzenbach formula, and represents the theoretical amount of radiation that can reach the surface of the earth at a given time and date due to various losses in passing through the atmosphere. The number is not particularly useful in itself but is used in an attempt to determine whether the sun is currently shining or not. A much more accurate method of determining if the sun is shining is to look out