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Drop #306 (2023-07-31): Should We Talk About The Weather?
Weather For Energy Tracker; Tomorrow.io; The Eyewall
I'm pretty sure most folks know I'm a big amateur weather nerd. So, today we cover three (well, five — mebbe six, really) resources I find pretty spiffy and useful when it comes to getting current/historical weather data and also keeping an eye on tropical storm activity.
Obligatory R.E.M. reference song.
This is an AI summary of the post. Today I used Claude-instant-100k. It did a crazy good job.
The Tomorrow.io free Weather API provides weather data for developers and organizations through historical, current and predictive data.
The Eyewall blog by meteorologists Matt Lanza and Eric Berger provides frequent and hype-free Atlantic hurricane season updates with great summary sections.
Weather For Energy Tracker
The IEA (International Energy Agency) and CMCC (Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change) Weather for Energy Tracker is a new free platform showcasing weather-related data useful to understand, analyse and model the energy sector, from generation to use across sectors. Data is available at the grid, country and sub-national levels, with a daily and monthly resolution from 1979 to the latest available month, and including monthly climatologies and anomalies.
There's also a highlights dataset which makes it fairly simple for anyone armed with (ugh) Excel to access monthly data for selected climate variables, averaged at country-level, for over 200 countries. This selection is taken from the broader IEA and CMCC Weather for Energy Tracker. They have a 3-month release schedule, with a monthly resolution from January 2010 to the latest month available.
These are the variables covered in the highlights (CDD/HDD are “heating and cooling degree days”):
CDD (18 °C population)
CDD (21 °C population)
HDD (16 °C population)
HDD (18 °C population)
Relative humidity (surface)
Total precipitation (surface)
Global horizontal irradiance (surface)
Temperature (2m surface)
Heat index (2m population)
It's…not bad? The screencap, below, is an example.
CAUTION! That Excel file is riddled with macros. Even in the most well-patched system, in 2023, macros are still SUPER DANGEROUS, and that file is most certainly hand-crafted. While I'm sure the fine folks at IEA & CMCC do their best to keep you safe, tap “enable” with care.
In years past, I would have called this a “fun” resource. There isn't much “fun” about the climate anymore.
Tomorrow.io offers a free Weather API that provides accurate and comprehensive weather data for hackers, developers, and organizations. Their Weather Forecast & Real-Time API offers “precise and reliable” weather predictions for any location worldwide, and a Historical Weather API, which utilizes high-resolution data from Tomorrow.io's proprietary models.
I mention them, since Apple continues to disappoint us all with their failure to handle the integration of Dark Sky well (making me wish I didn't spend time on my weatherkit projects last year). I also switched to using Tomorrow.io in CARROT Weather and have been impressed with the accuracy.
The folks at Tomorrow.io (did I mention I really dislike companies that use TLDs in their names?) are also working on a first-of-its-kind commercial weather satellite constellation to improve global forecasting capabilities. The constellation will be equipped with radars and microwave sounders in Low Earth Orbit, providing enhanced weather data coverage and democratizing access to global weather forecasting. The company has already launched Tomorrow-R1, the world's first commercially built weather-radar satellite, via SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket. This satellite is part of a planned constellation of more than 20 satellites that will bring proprietary weather data for global weather forecasting.
The satellite constellation aims to enable organizations to prepare for and mitigate the business impact of weather events. Tomorrow.io has demonstrated robust demand for the future capabilities of its constellation, having been awarded more than $20M in contracts from the Department of Defense (DOD) and executing a Collaborative R&D Agreement with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
We may be using Tomorrow.io's free API in this week's WPE.
At the time of this post, the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season has been relatively near-normal compared to previous years. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted a 40% chance of a near-normal season, with 12 to 17 named storms, 5 to 9 hurricanes, and 1 to 4 major hurricanes. In comparison, the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season was record-breaking, with 30 named storms, 14 hurricanes, and 7 major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher). The 2020 season resulted in 416 deaths and more than $50 billion USD in damage.
Most folks tend to only care about tropical storms when they're getting hyped in the media due to a pending or potential landfall. I grok why, but it's sad, since these beasties are fascinating, even if they just spin drunkenly out of control in the Atlantic (hi, Don!).
It's also sad, since I think the media does an overall horrible job covering tropical storms. I tend to just go to all the wonk weather sites and weather data sources to get a non-hype view of what's happening during tropical storm season. That's not an option for most folks, though. Thankfully, there's a great new resource that launched in June of this year that makes it easier for all of us to grok and keep up with the Atlantic tropical storm season.
The Eyewall is a weather blog that focuses on providing frequent updates on the Atlantic tropics. It was launched on June 1, 2023, marking the first day of the Atlantic hurricane season. The blog is managed by Houston-based meteorologists Matt Lanza and Eric Berger, who are also known for their work with Space City Weather, a popular Houston-based weather blog. Their goal is to be a reliable source of information on hurricanes and tropical weather, offering honest, to-the-point, and hype-free coverage. While the blog primarily focuses on the Atlantic tropics, it occasionally covers notable weather events happening elsewhere, such as Tropical Storm Calvin's impact on Hawaii.
Their posts are wicked consumable and have a consistent format:
The medium range (days 6 to 10)
Fantasyland (beyond day 10)
They also do some deep dives (or refer to deep dives) on topics you might not know about, such as dust.
I signed up for the daily ping from it and can definitely recommend it to others.
Two other hurricane sites worth an honorable mention are: