An Israeli company that imports weather and water measuring equipment has set up, in conjunction with Google, a national system of mini-weather stations that report on conditions in the field, enabling farmers to find out in real-time about how wind, rain, dew, sun, temperature, humidity and radiation are affecting their crops. And, for the first time, the system enables anyone to find out exactly how much rain has fallen in over 70 locations in Israel.
The information about rainfall is uploaded from the field to a website operated by Agrolan, which sells the mini-weather stations. The stations broadcast information about the weather, and about rainfall, to its servers. The information is posted on the Rain.org.il website, and lists the amount of rain that has fallen on a particular day, over the previous week, month or year, or even by the hour. The weather stations update their data once an hour. The information is displayed on a Google map, and users can do a side-by-side comparison of rainfall at all the stations, based on the criteria — time, amounts of rain fallen, etc. — chosen.
Similarly, the weather stations can be used to build a detailed weather forecast for the area. Taking all the data collected by the field stations and analyzing them, Agrolan can analyze the data and produce a weather forecast for up to seven days, with a “very high degree of accuracy,” according to a company spokesperson.
Currently, there are some 70 stations in service around Israel, but Agrolan expects that number to jump significantly after next week. Agrolan will be displaying the field weather stations at next week’s Fresh AgroMashov agriculture technology gathering in Tel Aviv, where it expects to sell dozens of the stations, which will automatically be added to the network.
A spokesperson for the company said that the system would be especially useful for farmers, who will be able to keep tabs on the weather conditions in their fields in real time, enabling them to take action to protect crops when necessary.
Scientists have long been divided over how accurately the weather can be predicted, and of course non-scientists who get their weather from the mass media long ago learned to be skeptical of forecasts. And while computing power – the ability to analyze data – is key to accurate forecasts, many professional meteorologists say, getting access to the data that needs to be analyzed is half the battle; and with Agrolan’s network of weather stations, the company says, that data is delivered in an accurate and timely manner.