Weather station owners who link with NEWA can testify to the usefulness of local real-time management information. Read this article to learn more about the process of linking a privately-owned weather station to NEWA.
Talk to your NEWA state coordinator
Contact your NEWA state coordinator before making any station purchase decision. NEWA partners with member states throughout the eastern and central United States to provide local grower support and expertise. Your coordinator can provide information specific to your state, answer questions about the NEWA platform, direct commodity questions to appropriate extension or university resources, and identify possible training opportunities for you.
Research your weather station options
NEWA models and tools require a specific configuration of weather station sensors to work. Understand all aspects of purchasing and maintaining a weather station before making the investment by reading our station buying guide and talking to our weather station vendor, Rainwise, Inc. Your NEWA state coordinator also has a lot of experience managing and maintaining his or her own machines, helping other growers in your state, and working with NEWA.
Weather stations are similar to any other investment on your farm. Tractors and combines require scheduled maintenance and checks throughout the season, and a long-term plan for capitalization. The same is true with a professional weather station. Understand upfront costs, maintenance, and calibration needs, as well as warranty coverage.
Purchase a weather station
When you are ready to purchase a station, contact Rainwise, Inc., the weather station vendor for NEWA. Review the NEWA station buying guide and understand specifications, add-ons, warranty coverage, maintenance requirements, and lifespan. Rainwise, Inc. is a weather station vendor that provides hardware and an online software platform (rainwise.net) to growers, from which NEWA gathers weather information to be used at newa.cornell.edu.
A note about NEWA and Rainwise, Inc.
You become a customer of Rainwise, Inc. after purchasing a weather station. NEWA is not affiliated with Rainwise, Inc., and does not receive monetary compensation or commission for weather stations purchased with the intent for use with NEWA.
The NEWA platform (newa.cornell.edu) is part of the New York State IPM Program at Cornell University. Rainwise, Inc. is a vendor of weather stations that are compatible with the NEWA. Questions about models and resources hosted at newa.cornell.edu should be directed to your NEWA state coordinator. If your state does not have a listed coordinator, reach out to NEWA staff directly at email@example.com.
Your weather station is sitting in a big box in your farm office. What now? Follow the advice of your NEWA state coordinator and Rainwise, Inc. regarding station installation and linking with rainwise.net. The process may vary slightly depending on the topography and layout of your farm.
Several verification steps must be completed before NEWA can create a location at newa.cornell.edu using data from your rainwise.net weather station account. Finish these tasks before making a request to join newa.cornell.edu.
Talk to your NEWA state coordinator…again!
At this point, talk to your NEWA state coordinator again. He or she will need information about your location, station hardware, contact information, and confirmation that settings have been checked in rainwise.net, which operates independently of the NEWA platform at newa.cornell.edu.
Welcome to NEWA
If you follow the steps described above, communicate with your NEWA state coordinator, confirm weather station settings on rainwise.net, and provide needed station information, no further action is required. It takes three to five business days to link data coming from your account at rainwise.net to newa.cornell.edu and to verify that information is accurate.
How does NEWA maintain its reliability? Uninterrupted model results during the growing season are critical for successful IPM and crop management. Accurate historical data are also important. Technology gremlins play games with our weather stations from time to time, so what can be done? Several methods of data quality control are used to maintain the integrity of information coming out of NEWA.
NEWA models utilize backup data
Most of the time, weather stations behave themselves. But once in a while, even the most well-maintained unit experiences a data outage. This might be due to a power loss, poor internet connection, or sensor failure. When a weather station is added to NEWA, a ‘sister’ station is assigned as a backup data source. Staff at the Northeast Regional Climate Center (NRCC) choose an alternate back up location based on similarities in microclimate and data output compared to the new location, rather than physical proximity alone.
If a station stops reporting data for a short period of time, NEWA will automatically substitute ‘sister’ station data into models so they continue to function properly. Models quickly become inaccurate and provide erroneous assessments without this important quality control measure. Model data substitution ensures the end user receives uninterrupted model results that are reasonably accurate.
Weather station problems are usually resolved quickly. But if a station fails to report for a period of more than three weeks, it is placed on ‘inactive’ status. At that point, models can no longer be accessed from that location. When the station owner notifies NEWA that repairs have been made, the location is re-activated and models are again accessible to users.
Historical reports utilize backup data
When you view historical data in hourly and daily weather summaries, certain records are sometimes displayed in brown italicized text. Data points marked in this fashion indicate substitution from a ‘sister’ station, as described earlier. The brown italicized data are the best guess approximation of actual conditions at that location and time. See the figure below.
Sometimes, short-term outages create confusion for users when they try to access recent historical data in the hourly or daily summaries. If a station hasn’t reported recently, the tables will only display data up to the most recently reported day and time. Until the next data update is received from that station, the table will not contain current information.
Once an update does come in, NEWA will publish the new data record. If the weather station lost any data between the most recent reporting date and last recorded report, NEWA will pull brown italicized data from the ‘sister’ station to complete the historical dataset. The result is an unbroken continuous group of observations up to the current date and time.