Every so often at Millbank PWS I will test a new piece of weather or climate reporting equipment or software to see how the accuracy compares with the stations calibrated manual instruments.
The ‘BloomSky’ Weather Station is an American Device with an unusual twist in reporting on current conditions. Internet connected Cameras at weather stations are not unusual, I have two at Millbank PWS (click here), but the ‘BloomSky’ has one built in and what’s more it is a semi-directional fisheye so it captures the sky in front of the device in an arc of 180°. The picture quality is amazingly good and each day can be replayed as a short video (10 minute frame rate). Apart from this unique feature the equipment also reports; Temperature, Humidity, Air Pressure and UV (given in parts of /11). Add to this, notifications when it rains, predicted max and min temperatures for the current day and a web sourced 14-day forecast.
Power to run the device is supplied by an internal rechargeable battery which is charged either from a mains 12v adapter or from an add on solar panel. The unit came with a 50% charge and within 4 hours on a very overcast first day the battery was at 100%. To conserve energy the camera shuts down between dusk and dawn, which is a slight drawback as night skies are often more interesting than daytime.
The equipment reports through a web browser (click here) or through an ios and Android app. Information is freely available to anyone and viewers can attach favourites to different stations. Initial setup should be simple if you have a straight forward 2.4GHz WiFi router. At Millbank PWS the weather station is 25 meters away from my house so WiFi equipment is attached using A TPLink outdoor wireless access point which took a little longer to configure.
Early days, but first impression is that this is a very well built and robust piece of equipment with an amazing camera, however not being able to re calibrate the sensors makes for less than accurate reporting. Hopefully this will settle down in time, but to date, temperature is fairly steady, humidity and pressure are both averaging a + 5.3% error.
Finally, If you have looked at the ‘BloomSky Map’, you will have noticed that there are only three in operation in Scotland and eighteen in the rest of the UK. This is because, at the moment, the equipment can only be purchased in the USA and Canada.
The Storm addition to the BloomSky weather station was added to our network in April 2017 after we invested in it’s design and production through Kickstart Crowed Funding. This add on device measures real-time UV, Rainfall, wind speed and direction. Out of the box, this is a very well built piece of equipment and easy to set up