I've written a FAQ with questions that people have asked me over the 4 or so years that I have been running my weather station on the net. I hope this is helpful to you and if this doesn't answer your question, please contact me and I'll answer it as best I can.


I need some weather data, can you provide it?
I have data going back to 2000. Not all of these records have rainfall and wind data and the temperature data from 2000 to about mid 2002 may be low. Have a look in the Weather Data Archive section to see if this satisfies your requirements. If not, please contact me and I'll see if I can provide anything useful. Note: all information on my site is subject to a Creative Commons license.


I'm interested in the weather, where can I find out more?
There is an active weather forum discussing all aspects of weather here and around the world. You can join here.


I like your web pages and weather station, can you build one for me?
Sorry, I can't. If you have basic electronic construction skills and are willing to learn some programming, you can build a weather station like mine, or possibly better :-). See the notes on my weather station for some ideas. If you need any immediate info, contact me.
If you require a weather station for a commercial application such as a vineyard or orchard, I suggest you purchase a commercial weather station.


Where can I purchase a weather station in NZ?
Search for weather station site:nz on Google. Retailers selling weather stations come and go so there is little use putting a list here.


I'm a teacher, can I use your site for my current class project?
Certainly! You are very welcome to use the information on my site for educational purposes no matter where you are in the world.


I'm coming to NZ for a holiday, can you tell me what the weather is going to be like?
If you come in summer it will be mostly warm with a few days that are wet and cool. If you come in winter, expect colder weather with more frequent days of rain and wind.

Every year is different and I cannot advise you if it is better to come in January, March or May. If I have a choice as to when I can take my holidays, I would take them between late January and early April as the weather is usually most settled then but NZ is a small country in a large expanse of ocean so expect the odd "4 seasons in 1 day" at any time of the year.


Can you answer these questions by the morning, my assignment is overdue!!
Unfortunately, I can't answer your homework questions directly but I'm happy to provide some links to resources on the web that may help you. The New Zealand MetService Learning Centre is not as good as it used to be with their web current web site.


Can you tell me where I can get DS18B20 temperature sensors and other components in Christchurch?
South Island Components have them and if you're not in Christchurch, you can order online. They also stock PICAXE and PIC micros and accessories.
Other component suppliers, Jaycar Electronics and Global PC also have a selection of Altronics components and kits.


What measurement units do you use?
New Zealand uses metric measurements. I use millimetres for rainfall, degrees Celsius (Centigrade) for temperature, kilometers per hour for wind speed and kilometres for the wind run.
The reason I chose kilometers per hour rather than knot or metres per second is its easier to visualise for most people looking at the site.
Barometric pressure units are hectopascals (hPa) which are equivalent to millibars (1hPa = 1mB).


Where in Christchurch is your weather station located?
My weather station is in the Hillmorton / Hoon Hay area on the south west side of Christchurch. You may notice the nor'easterly is stronger here then in the north western suburbs, this wind tends to strengthen as it bends around the Port Hills.
If you've had some rain at your place and I'm not reporting any on my station, it's quite common for showers to be isolated to just parts of Christchurch.


Can you provide a weather data feed for a project I'm currently involved in?
The weather station and server are run on a hobby basis but I try to keep downtime to a minimum. I also can't guarantee the accuracy of the measurements. Consequently, I can't guarantee any grade of service but if you are still interested, contact me and we can talk about your requirement. Currently the only data available is via this web site.


I'm doing a research project on the Canterbury Nor'wester, as you seem to be interested in weather, can I have your views on it?
Every time I hear someone commenting on the nor'wester, there are comments on how this wind stresses them or makes them more agitated or ill in some way. Fortunately, the nor'wester does not have any affect on me that I'm aware of apart from blowing dust in my eyes while cycling or making good time on the way home from work. Have a look at this article from Metservice on the storm of 1975.


Can you give a talk on the weather at my club or present a series of evening classes on the weather at my college?
Unfortunately I can't give a talk at your club meeting or present an evening class at your college.


Are you associated with the New Zealand Thunderstorm Society?
No, but you can join most of the members on the NZ weather forum.


What is wind run?
Wind run is a measurement of how windy a day has been. My anemometer spins around in the wind and for every revolution, the manufacturers state that 76cm of wind has passed the anemometer.
Picture a wheel that covers 1 metre for every revolution. Roll it along the ground 10 revolutions and you've covered 10 metres.

Counting the number of revolutions over a 10 minute or 24 hour period will give the number of metres or kilometres of wind for the day.

Sometimes a day can seem quite windy as a part of the day was quite gusty but overnight and in the morning were calm.
The next day, the wind blows moderately for a 24 hour period.
The day with the greatest wind run will be the day when the wind blew moderately all day although it was not gusty.


How do I set my barometer?
If you are in Christchurch you can have use my latest pressure reading in hectopascals, eg 997hPa. Hectopascals are essentially the same as the old millibars (mB) as 1hPa = 1mB. This reading is valid for all areas of Christchurch.
There may be small differences out on the Plains but if the weather map shows the country is covered with few isobars with a big high over the South Island there will be little pressure difference over quite a large area. Have a look at the latest weather map of New Zealand to see how even the pressure is over the country.

If you live elsewhere in New Zealand, choose the closest location to you from the list of stations that Metservice provide data from every 3 hours. These readings are adjusted to mean sea level, that is, the pressure at that location at sea level even though the station may not be located at sea level. Set your barometer to this value even if you live in an elevated location.

If your barometer is not calibrated or marked in millibars or hectopascals, and it has numbers 28,29,30,31, these are inches of mercury. The conversion is (mb) * 0.02961 = inches of mercury. For example of the pressure is 1013hPa, multiply 1013 by 0.02951 = 29.9. Set your barometer to 29.9 or as near as you can using the adjustment screw on the back of most barometers.


Finding New Zealand Climate Data
If you are looking for climate data for New Zealand there are a couple of places to look. Firstly have a look at the NIWA site. If you go to the National Climate Centre there are monthly, seasonal and annual climate summaries available.


What do the symbols on the storm trackers mean?
I don't run the storm trackers, just provide an external link to the trackers.
My best guess is
+CG - A positive strike between cloud and ground
+IC - A positive inter cloud strike (between the clouds but not to ground)
-CG - A negative strike between cloud and ground
-IC - A negative inter cloud strike (between the clouds but not to ground)