Category Archives: weather stations

Spring 2019 Rainwise updates

Rainwise Inc. and NEWA continue to build on a partnership that began over 15 years ago. Read this article to see what Rainwise can offer NEWA growers in 2019.

Benefits of linking a weather station to NEWA

The Network for Environment and Weather Applications (NEWA) is part of the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program (NYSIPM) at Cornell AgriTech in Geneva, NY. NEWA is a collection of online insect pest and plant disease management tools built to provide growers with short-term crop risk assessments. Each tool or resource uses real-time weather data streamed from 600+ weather stations across the Northeast, Midwest, and Mid-Atlantic United States and can be accessed at newa.cornell.edu.

Rainwise featured products and services

NEWA-compatible weather stations

Rainwise, Inc. offers their flagship model, the MKIII, to customers who want to link with NEWA. Customers connect to their online platform, Rainwise.net, and then send a simple request to the NEWA Help Desk where the onboarding process to http://newa.cornell.edu is completed.

To learn more or purchase a NEWA-compatible AgroMET MKIII flagship weather station, click here.

AgroMET & IP-100 Package

Rainwise.net platform

An AgroMET MKIII purchase includes the following standard features on Rainwise.net:

  • Data feed compatibility
  • Real-time data availability in the Rainwise.net platform.
  • A weather summary page with local forecasts provided by The Weather Company.
  • Basic data downloads in CSV format.
  • Data feed options for Weather Underground, CWOP, PWS Weather, and Weather Flow.

Owners can purchase an optional $60 upgrade to a Pro subscription for $60, which includes the following:

  • Everything listed in standard features.
  • Detailed graph summaries.
  • Data reports.
  • Enhanced download features.
  • Customizable alarms.

Did you know these things about Rainwise?

  • Rainwise, Inc. was the first company to patent the ‘tipping rain gauge’ in 1976. Accurate precipitation measurements are critical for agricultural industries. As of 2019, 90% of all precipitation measurements are gathered in this fashion (Figure 1).
  • In 1981, Rainwise, Inc. invented the first digital weather station for consumers. In 1996, the company invented the first wireless consumer weather station (Figure 2). This was a breakthrough for agricultural applications.
  • Rainwise partners with The Weather Company and IBM to gather microclimate data. Such a partnership strengthens the technology provided to NEWA agricultural users.

figure 1

Figure 1. Rainwise tipping gauge patent circa 1976.

figure 2

Figure 2. Rainwise wireless consumer weather station circa 1996.

Spring is coming – tune up your weather stations

The 2019 growing season will be here in another few weeks. Now is the perfect time to give your Rainwise weather stations a tune-up. Use the checklist below to make sure you are getting the best possible data feed from your machine.

If your Rainwise station is getting old (>6 years) consider replacing the machine if this decision suits your farm management needs. A 2017 online survey of current NEWA users found that 75% of growers are saving money on their spray bill with average annual savings of $4,329 from reduced pesticide applications and $33,048 in avoided crop losses.

To get in touch with Rainwise support for station servicing or replacement of your weather station sensor assembly please reach out to the RainWise Inc. Service Department for consultation by phone (207) 801-4039 or email service@rainwise.com.

Contact support@newa.zendesk.com with other questions regarding the online NEWA platform at newa.cornell.edu.

Spring weather station tune up checklist

Set a maintenance schedule. Check your weather station every 2 or 3 weeks through the growing season. Choose dates in advance and add to your calendar or planner.

Clean the solar radiation sensor. The diffuser can be cleaned with a damp cloth. Replace the sensor if has turned yellow.

Check the anemometer and weather vane. Make sure the anemometer (spinning fan) and weather vane move freely in all directions. Set the weather vane to zero on due North.

Check the leaf wetness sensor. Examine the plastic board and electrodes for corrosion, cracking or weathering damage.

Check the relative humidity sensor. Verify the accuracy of RH measurements by looking at NEWA values on mornings that are rainy or have heavy dew.

Clean the rain gauge. Remove leaves, nests, insect, spider webs and other debris. Set a schedule. Watch this video and learn more about tipping bucket maintenance.

Exposing your weather station to the elements

Weather station maintenance is very important for gathering accurate weather data, but it is just as important to make sure your well-maintained instrument is properly placed without any shade throughout the day.

NEWA apple carbohydrate thinning and apple irrigation models are heavily dependent on solar radiation data from fully exposed sensors.  A weather station that reports erroneously low solar radiation will result in carbohydrate thinning model outputs suggesting the trees are under stress and no chemical thinning is needed. In reality, the user might miss an important thinning window or badly under-thin. If the readings are too high, the model would erroneously suggest a strong thinner concentration, leading to over-thinning.

This is so important that NEWA-linked weather stations reporting data outside of a normal expected range are deactivated in these specific cases to prevent misinterpretation of the apple crop management models.

Erroneous radiation data generally is due to either the sensor drifting its calibration or shade for some time during the day from a building or trees.  Shading is often the culprit when a weather station consistently reports low solar radiation. In some cases, the weather station owner has not removed the factory-installed “green cap.” Very low readings are reported on bright sunny days while no reading or zero values are reported on cloudy days.  Other times, a weather station is inadvertently placed near a building or tree. Full solar radiation exposure is maintained for most of a day but drops to zero when the instrument becomes shaded by a structure or object.

Shade will not affect temperature readings as much as solar radiation. The instrument thermometer is artificially shaded, to begin with so additional structural shade will not have a large impact. But the solar radiation sensor is meant to receive full exposure from sunrise to sunset. Weather station siting is much more critical for radiation-driven models like carbohydrate thinning and the apple irrigation models than for temperature-driven models.

Check for shading several times from sunrise to sunset the next time you have a bright sunny day. If you are unable to access the carbohydrate thinning or apple irrigation model from an otherwise functioning weather station, shading may be the culprit.  If you get low readings even with full exposure then the sensor is bad and needs replacement or re-calibration.

Contact the NEWA Help Desk at support@newa.zendesk.comfor assistance with replacing a bad solar radiation sensor.

Special thanks to Dr. Alan Lakso, Professor Emeritus, Cornell University for contributions to this article.