Weather Observation Website – WOW
The Weather Observation Website (WOW) Project was selected as the recipient of the EMS Technology Achievement Award 2022 for the open accessibility of near real time weather observations and photographs that stimulates involvement of the public to take part in weather and climate sciences.
The accessibility to near real time weather observations and photographs assists forecasters in providing more accurate and timely warning systems and enables first responders to prepare for extreme events in good time – thereby lessening the impacts on lives and property. It also stimulates the public to take part in weather and climate science because of its open data policy. It has the potential to increase the general interest in and knowledge about weather factors and how forecasts and warnings are issued. Not just by welcoming private weather station observations, but, for instance, WOW for Schools could offer an important contribution to such knowledge if spread to more countries. In other words: It is really “citizen science”.
WOW is a web application where professional and amateur meteorologists can share observations from their private weather stations. On one hand these data are mapped and graphed on the WOW website and support real time monitoring of the current weather, with a much higher density than can be provided by NMHS professional weather stations. On the other hand, these and historical data can be downloaded for free for all purposes, which supports open data and open science. In addition, substantial effort is spent on metadata about the contributing weather stations, resulting in a quality classification of all stations based on instrument siting, local roughness and nearby obstacles as well as the degree of urbanization.
Apart from the fact that WOW currently (June 2022)has 30,033 users worldwide and is receiving over 1 million observations a day, the WOW initiative also has contributed to 51 scientific peer-reviewed journal papers (Source: Scopus.com 30 Jan 2022) in which WOW observations are used in the field of meteorology, microclimate, energy demand studies, human health, and weather hazard analysis. Also, WOW for Schools (https://wow.metoffice.gov.uk/education) provides a real-time tool to help people learn about the weather for the U.K. WOW can be used in the classroom or at home to explore many aspects of the UK weather, and the Met Office has teamed up with the Royal Meteorological Society to provide resources for schools to use.