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Davis Weather E-news
August 2014
In This Issue:
Anemometer new product announcements

New Rain Collector Design for Vantage Pro2

If you are a Vantage Pro2 owner who has come to despise our feathered friends for what they "doo" to your weather station, break out the champagne.

Our ingenious engineers have redesigned the Vantage Pro2 rain collector to include bird spikes. While they were at it, they added finger grips to make turning the cone easier, and redesigned the debris screen. And the best part (in our humble opinion)? The cone has the Davis logo on it so you can boast that your ISS is the genuine deal, without saying a word.

Birds need to extend their wings to land or takeoff, and the spikes interfere. The spikes fit into sockets that rim the cone - installation is as easy as inserting each spike and tapping it in securely. For those who have complained that some bird species find the cone just perfectly nest-sized, we added a socket on top of the debris screen. The screen itself is bigger (think, "harder to lose!") and the design will make it even more effective at keeping the rain flowing into the tipping mechanism.

The new cone will be shipped with our newest Vantage Pro2 integrated sensor suites, but it will also work just fine on older ISSes. Click here to get your Replacement Cone Kit and see your bird problems fly away.

And a New UV Sensor Design Too!

You'd think redoing the rain cone would have been enough to keep our engineering team busy, but did you know they also improved the UV Sensor?

The new patent-pending UV radiometer sports a new crown, not just because it looks cool, but to improve cosine response.

The design allows for a cosine response of +/- 4% at zenith angles 0 -90, or whenever the sun is above the horizon. Our previous design had that excellent cosine response for most of the day, but a cosine response of +/- 9% when the sun was low on the horizon.

If you are a Vantage Pro2 owner, you can turn your ISS into a Vantage Pro2 Plus by adding a Solar Radiation Sensor, a UV Sensor, and a Sensor Mounting Shelf.

AnemometerWeather Check Quiz Question 1:

True or False:
My zenith point is not the same as your zenith point.

Extra Credits
Multiple choice
: The smaller the zenith angle, the (higher/lower) the sun is in the sky.
Fill in the blank: The ______ is 180° away from the zenith point.
Essay: Why do we need to measure UV?
Creative: Write a haiku about sunlight.

(Click here for answers.)


Vantage Vue Laughs Off Texas Golf-Ball Hail

How would a product with electronics and movable parts fare if you left it outside, way up on a pole, in the middle of a hail storm with golf-ball sized hail stones? According to Foster Byrd, just fine, thank you, if it is a Davis weather station.

Foster wrote to tell us that his Denton, Texas, Vantage Vue sailed through just such a storm back in April.

"Our Vantage Vue is mounted atop a 20-foot mast in the back yard.  All elements appear to be in good shape as seen from the ground with binoculars.  All are still working properly as of this date, but I have not pulled it down for a closer examination yet -- even though I had to replace a roof on both the house and a shed in the back yard, as well as a metal roof on a sun room, plus numerous damaged window screens and damaged paint on both shed and south side of home." 

"My equipment below the Vantage Vue on the same mast (backup from a manufacturer of a lower grade) was shredded so badly I never found all the pieces.  I will see what I have up close when and if it ever malfunctions (such as if there is ever trash in the rain funnel), or I have to replace the backup battery. Until then it will sit atop 20' of drill stem without guy wires, barring any unforeseen acts of nature!!!"

"Some of the hail falling during that storm was larger than golf balls with an occasional random hail stone the size of a good cooking apple.  Hopefully we won't see another one like that for a while."

Foster's conclusion about Davis? "You are definitely doing something right."

Hello Neighbor! No Bird Spikes Here!

Gerald Frimann, of Sherman, Texas, snapped a candid of his new pride and joy, a Vantage Vue, up on his tower. He had to get creative in figuring out how to mount it and settled on bolting a length of 2" x 4" onto the tower and then mounting a short pole to the board. This gets the station clear of the tower.

It also puts it sort of in the front yard of the neighbor's two-story deluxe condo. They are probably thinking the neighborhood is going downhill, what with all the spinning wind cups and all. Oh well, it could be worse, chickadees: it could be a Vantage Pro2 with the new anti-bird rain cone! (If you zoom in, you can see that Gerald has mounted some bird fringe on the "2 X 4". Very clever!)

"When [my old] Vantage Pro died, it seemed I lost one arm!" Gerald lamented. But life goes on, and he had CoCoRaHS and county weather reporting duties so he got himself a new Vantage Vue and WeatherLinkIP.

(Up on the top of the tower you can just see the remains of Gerald's original Vantage Pro -- the anemometer, still spinning bravely, but reporting to nobody.)

Well done, Gerald. (And a little bird told us to tell you to stay off that tower!)

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AnemometerWEATHER 101

Why Don't We Measure Temperature Out in the Sunlight?

The other day our Vantage Pro2 Plus told us it was 78° F (26° C) outside: perfect deck-sitting temperature! So we filled a glass with ice and tea an toddled off to bask on the sunny deck. But a few minutes into our sit and we were gulping down the tea and mopping our brow.

"78° F?" we asked the Vantage Vue skeptically. "Not where we are sitting!"

"Well, for one thing," the Vantage Pro2 answered. (Yes, ours is very smart.) "I measure temperature in the shade provided by my radiation shield."

"The shade! Why on earth??" we demanded.

"Because," she answered smugly, "it's the right way to measure air temperature. I am reporting just the air's temperature, without absorbing radiant energy from the sun. If I measured temperature by hanging my thermometer out in the direct sunlight, it would gain energy faster than it could radiate it away. At some point it would reach an equilibrium, and the reported temperature would be much higher than what the air temperature actually is. That's why it is impossible to measure air temperature in the direct sunlight."

"Also," she went on," I am not a person."

Trying to ignore the feeling that being a person was a bad thing, we asked, "So what? Temperature is temperature."

If she could have looked disgusted, she would have. She said, "So you think your internal thermometer is the same as mine? Your bio-thermometer will report higher temperatures when the the relative humidity is higher, and lower temperatures when the wind blows. That's why my other half, the console in the house, takes my hard data and gives you information your little bio-computer brain can understand. Specifically, the Heat Index, Wind Chill, and Temperature-Humidity-Sun-Wind (THSW) Index (because I have a solar radiation sensor). Next time, take a look at the those. The Heat Index, which combines just temperature and relative humidity to give you a sense of what the temperature will feel like to a human sitting on the deck, will give you a better idea of whether or not to venture out. The THSW, though that one's the gold standard!"

By that time, the ice in the glass had melted and we had had enough of her superiority complex. It also occurred to us that talking to a weather station may be an indication that it was time to get out of the sun.

AnemometerWeather Check Quiz Question 2:

True or False: Reading this story about a talking Vantage Pro2 has caused your temperature to increase.

(Click here for answers.)

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AnemometerTECH TIPS

Why Maintain Your Rain Collector?

Enrique Vargas posted this enlightening image on our Facebook page. We need not waste words explaining that if you don't keep your rain collector maintained, someone else is likely to set up housekeeping there.

Thank you for the reminder, Enrique. Everyone else, check your rain collector!

AnemometerWeather Check Quiz Question 3:

True or False: Maybe Enrique needs a scarecrow. If you order a modern scarecrow, you should expect to receive something basically human-shaped.

Extra Credit: Which has never been a term for scarecrow in the United Kingdom:

a. Frightie-Sightie
b. Hay-Man
c. Tattie bogle
d. Bwbach
e. Mommet

(Click here for answers.)

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AnemometerI spy a davis weather station

You Can Run, But You Can't Hide From Vantage Pro2

Our Finnish distributor, Ilkka Lilja, has a client who is the environmental officer for her company. Needing a break, she went far from home to visit China. She sent Ilkka this photo, with a note that said, "It was impossible to forget monitoring of the environment."

AnemometerWeather Check Quiz Question 4:

One lie, two truths. Which is which?

1. The Great Wall of China is the only man-made structure that is visible from space.
2. The length of the Great Wall of China is over half the circumference of the Earth.
3. They used rice in making the bricks.

(Click here for answers.)

Reachable by Kayak & Ship

Jack Herndon was kayaking far far away from anything near the eastern tip of Martin Island (N 60° 06.531" W124° 48.790") in Desolation Sound, British Columbia, when he looked up and saw ....a Vantage Pro2. He told us there were no buildings visible and he guessed the data was going to the closest town of Refuge Cove. Beautiful!

Vantage Pro2 owner Keith Laird of Ft. Riley, Kansas, spotted a beautiful image of a Vantage Pro2 being installed by a Djiboutian Navy sailor on the Bab-El-Mandeb Strait on Geeska Afrika's web site.

Chasing BigBoy, She Found Vantage Pro2

Train-watcher Nolene Mitts was enjoying the warm weather in Kelso, California "chasing" a train called BigBoy4014, the largest commercial steam engine ever made.

When BigBoy chugged into the station for a photo op, Nolene noticed the weather station with the train station in the background. She threw in a photo of the Big Boy himself (below), who was on the way to Montana to be fitted for service.

Cold & Lonely Vantage Pro2

Davis IT wizard, Brad, spotted this cold little anemometer working hard on an episode of NatGeo's "Life Below Zero." The episode featured Susan Aikens, owner of the remote Kavik River Camp. She lives there year-round, 9 months alone, 500 miles from closest city of Fairbanks.

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Anemometerdavis in the news

Belle Plaine is Raising Some Meteorologists (and Tomatoes)

Photo: Belle Plaine Herald, used with permission.

The kids of Our Lady of the Prairie Catholic School in Belle Plaine, Minnesota, were featured in a story in the Belle Plaine Herald because they are growing their own lunches. They are also learning about the weather affects the tomatoes in their school garden from a brand new Vantage Pro2 that was donated and installed by Joe Vandermark (on the left in the photo) and the Our Lady of the Prairie school board.

AnemometerWeather Check Quiz Question 5:

Name the top three tomato-producing countries in the world.

(Click here for answers.)

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Anemometerjust for fun

101-Year Old Weather Watcher Sets Record

Here's a link to a story about a weather reporter with the longest continuous history of all the Weather Service's volunteer weather observers. He's 101-year old Robert G. Hendrickson, and he has been taking twice daily weather readings on Long Island for 84 years!

 What do you think of the E-Newsletter? How can we improve? How do you use your Davis weather products? E-mail us at news@davisnet.com.


Question 1:True or False: My zenith point is not the same as your zenith point.

True. The zenith point is a local spot, directly above the reference point. So your UV sensor's zenith is on an axis that runs right up through the center of the diffuser to infinity.

Extra Credits
Multiple choice: The smaller the zenith angle, the HIGHER the sun is in the sky. (Directly overhead = 0°.)
Fill in the blank: The NADIR is 180° away from the zenith point. It goes the other way, straight down from the reference point.
Essay: Why do we need to measure UV?
You get an F if your essay does not mention avoiding UV damage to people (sunburn and skin cancer)!
You get an A otherwise. An A+ if you mentioned an interest in the physics of sunlight and how it affects the earth's atmosphere and climate.
Creative: Write a haiku about sunlight.
Good, but Basho, of course was better:

White cloud of mist
above white
cherry-blossoms . . .
Dawn-shining mountains.

>> Back to Menu

Question 2: True or False: Reading this story about a talking Vantage Pro2 has caused your temperature to increase.

Depends on what your Vantage Pro2 is telling you about the Heat Index. Just living produces heat. You burned 10 calories just sitting reading the story, and by burned, we mean produced heat. Burning those 10 calories could make your body temperature go up by about a tenth of a degree F, unless you get rid of it. Normally, you can easily get rid of this excess heat by just radiating it off into the cooler air around you. But as the air around you gets warmer, you have to get a little creative to get rid of the excess heat. So you sweat. But if the humidity is too high, sweating doesn't help much. As the temperature rises and the humidity rises, the Heat Index climbs into the danger zone.

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Question 3: True or False: If you order a modern scarecrow, expect to receive a very inhuman looking one.

True. Modern scarecrows don't look much like people. They are usually reflective tape.They might suddenly pop up or make a noise. Your scarecrow might look like one of those inflatable tube-men that seem to dance to draw attention to a business. Richard Nickerson, an inventor in Encino, California, has invented a solar-powered one that uses reflective tape and has 17-foot arms that move in the wind and rotate mechanically and unpredictably. Read more in this article in AgAlert.

Extra Credit: Which is not a term for scarecrow in the United Kingdom:

Frightie-Sightie! We personally have seen a Tattie bogle on the Isle of Skye.

>> Back to Menu

Question 4: One lie, two truths. Which is which?

  1. The Great Wall of China is the only man-made structure that is visible from space.
    Lie! Bits of the wall can be seen from space, but not easily. But you can see lots of other man-made things, like cities, roadways, bridges, dams, and airports. This is according to NASA, who should know!
  2. The length of the Great Wall of China is over half the circumference of the Earth.
    Truth: The equator is 40,075 km (24,901 miles) long; the estimated length of the wall built over thousands of years is 21,196 km (13,170 miles).
  3. They used rice in making the bricks.
    Truth! Glutinous rice flour was used in making the binding material to bind the bricks.

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Question 5: Name the top three tomato-producing countries in the world.

China (way ahead in first), then India, then the United States. Interestingly, Turkey is close behind the US at number 4!

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Each month after the E-News goes out, we receive messages back. Sometimes the messages are in response to a story we shared; other times they are a request for help of some kind. We read all the emails, answer those we can, and pass the rest on to the appropriate departments. If you're interested in the fastest possible reply, news@davisnet.com may not be the best place to send your message. Questions about how things work should be addressed to tech support directly at support@davisnet.com. For general information about the products, contact sales@davisnet.com. To request a catalog, see the links for catalog requests on our web site at www.davisnet.com/contact/catalog.asp.

What do you think of our E-news? Please continue to send your comments, weather URLs, and story suggestions to news@davisnet.com. We look forward to getting your comments and any responses you have to the Davis E-News. Member participation is what keeps the Davis E-News alive and kicking.

Well, that's it for this edition. You'll be hearing from us again next month!
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The Davis Weather Club E-Newsletter is published by Davis Instruments.

Vantage Connect, Vantage Vue, Vantage Pro2, Vantage Pro2 Plus, Vantage Pro, Vantage Pro Plus, Weather Monitor, Weather Wizard, WeatherLink, WeatherLinkIP, Weather Envoy, and Perception are trademarks of Davis Instruments Corp.