P.E.I. weather app offers real-time readings from 60 locations
Web-based app also includes downloadable historical data
A researcher at UPEI has created a new web-based P.E.I. weather and climate app that gives real-time readings and historical information from across the Island.
"Currently on this app, we have about 60 weather stations showing — in real time — temperature, precipitation, wind speed and humidity," said Xander Wang, an assistant professor in the school of climate change and adaptation at UPEI.
"We also have historical data for climate, so that the people can go into this app to check the current weather conditions but also for the historical conditions."
Wang said having more than 60 weather stations allows for more localized information, as conditions can vary greatly from one end of the Island to the other.
"Usually people think P.E.I. is a very small Island, and the temperature or rainfall pattern can be very consistent, but in fact it is totally different," Wang said.
"Even for temperature, from East Point to North Cape you probably see about a five degree difference in terms of temperature."
Wang said rainfall patterns can also be totally different.
"That's why we want to put out more stations to capture this kind of spatial difference in the weather conditions."
Wang said the app's primary audience is the general public, who can check the app on their cellphone or tablet to see current weather conditions.
But he said the hope is that researchers, consultants and government agencies will also use the app.
"It's like an information hub for current weather and historical weather information," Wang said.
"Most importantly, you can download data directly from the app and use it to do analysis."
Wang said the oldest historical data goes back to 1872, from Charlottetown, as well as information collected by Environment Canada from weather stations in Summerside and Monticello.
From six to 60 stations
In the past, Wang said, most of the weather information on P.E.I. came from Environment Canada, which currently only has six stations across the Island.
The new app has more sources —including information from six stations operated by the P.E.I. Department of Transportation.
The UPEI climate research lab has about 20 stations and there are also weather stations owned by private individuals.
"They also share information with us and we pull information from all of these stations," Wang said.
"We put this into the app and show this information in a real-time basis."
The app includes readings from a new weather station at Lennox Island, which is also part of a storm surge early-warning system that Wang helped to create.
Even with more than 60 weather stations, Wang said there are a few gaps, including west of Summerside.
"In that area, you don't have enough weather stations to show the detailed weather pattern," Wang said.
"So probably, we need to install new stations in the next step."
Wang said the plan is to expand the app to include not just real-time and historical data, but also weather and climate predictions.
"One step we want to do is to incorporate short-term weather predictions so that people can also see what the weather will be in the next two hours, or 20 hours," Wang said.
"Another direction is to incorporate climate projections, into the next 30 or 50, maybe 100 years, to help people understand what will be the future climate on P.E.I."
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