Davis Instruments Search All Davis Sites
about news contact support Weather Automotive Marine

Davis Weather E-news
october 2015
In This Issue:
Anemometer Holiday special bundle

Gift Givers, Check Out Weather Box

The gift-giving season is upon us! We are making life a little easier for those who have a weather buff on the gift list with this special holiday bundle.

The Weather Box is an all-in-one bundle for the weather enthusiast who wants easy access to their personal weather data wherever they go. In a few simple steps, you can install a weather sensor suite (the Vantage Vue ISS) and, within minutes, view the data on your smartphone or personal computer.

Weather Box is a sleek, smart and reliable weather station that will outlast other stations in its class. The solar-powered sensor suite sends updates as frequently as every 2.5 seconds for current weather conditions, including indoor/outdoor temperature and humidity, barometric pressure, wind speed and direction, dew point and rainfall. The data is then automatically uploaded to your page on WeatherLinkIP. By downloading our free mobile app on your smartphone you have access to your weather data and can compare it to other favorite weather stations.

With Weather Box, you instantly join an elite global network of 20,000 weather enthusiasts. You can access your data in many different ways: through our WeatherLink mobile app, on WeatherLink.com or other websites such as Weather Underground. You can get your weather data on practically any browser or app-enabled device.

Wherever you are, you can just open the app on your smartphone to see current weather conditions, or log on to WeatherLink.com to see historical data. It’s never been easier to view and share your weather data and to get connected and stay connected to your weather conditions.

You can add a console if you like -- or several -- but no console is needed for this product. You see your data on your computer or phone screen!


Vantage Connect and Vantage Pro2 Helps Tame Crazy Weather for Anderson Valley Winery

The Charles family, Bill and Nancy Charles and their daughter and son-in-law Kristy Charles and Joe Webb, with two other important members of the wine-making team.

The Charles family has been working a piece of land in the lovely Anderson Valley of California for generations. But in 2006, Bill and Nancy Charles, along with their daughter and son-in-law, Kristy Charles and Joe Webb, opened Foursight Wines and began to produce small lots of estate-grown Pinot Noir, Semillon, and Sauvignon Blanc.

The Anderson Valley's has crazy temperature swings, but those extremes are often pleasingly moderated by fog.

The Anderson Valley, just outside of Boonville and just west of the famed Napa Valley, is one of the most unique wine-producing areas in the world. Growers there work with some of best -- and some of the most extreme -- weather conditions in the wine-making world. It’s cool and coastal with the long sunny days of California summers, but it is also a long, narrow valley that channels whipping winds. It also has crazy temperature swings, which can be very good-- or very bad -- for wine grapes. The valley is known for the highest diurnal temperature swings in the wine-growing world. Joe, who is Foursight’s winemaker and President of the Anderson Valley Wine Association, has recorded a 62-degree swing in one day, going from 107°F (42°C) in the afternoon to 45°F (7°C) that night. This is actually a very good thing, he told us. The extreme swings in temperature add to the quality of the grapes. Daytime highs provide a richness and fullness of the flavor to the fruit, while night time cool weather keeps the acidity of the grapes high -- very good for premium wine grapes. But low temps can also lead to crop loss. Then there’s the wind. The winds change direction and speed on a daily basis. Warmer, drier winds zip out of the southeast to dehydrate the air, while cool winds bring in moisture from the northeast.

How could the growers cope with wind and temperature changes that vary more than any wine growing region in the world?

For the first few years, the weather sometimes won the battle. The first year’s production amounted to about 400 cases of Pinot Noir. Not bad, but the Charles’s knew they could do better. While each year was better than the last, the weather continued to be both their greatest asset and their greatest nemesis.

In 2008, the weather was particularly devious and Foursight Wines lost nearly half their crop to an early spring frost. It was clear that the only way they would end this battle with the elements would be to know their enemy! They knew they needed weather stations in each vineyard. However, the 15 acres that was hit hardest by the frost is over half a mile from the winery. How could they track weather conditions 24/7 in remote vineyards?

That’s when Vantage Connect and Vantage Pro2 came to the rescue! The Charles family now tracks conditions in all their vineyards, including the two most remote areas, on their tablets and smartphones. When temperatures drop to near 30°F (0°C), Vantage Connect sends text messages so the growers can turn on overhead sprinklers to raise the temperature to avert frost damage. They can see when a temperature inversion is putting a virtual lid on their vineyard and can turn on fans to mix the air. They can track growing degree days to help determine when the fruit is ready for harvest. And the best part is that they can see these weather events from the comfort of the winery, their bedrooms, or even from their vacations in Lake Tahoe or Hawaii.

Fruit-laden Foursight vines with micro-sprayers.

This year Foursight Wines hopes to meet its goal of 1500 cases of sublime wine, glowing with a uniqueness that could only come from grapes grown in this special valley. While Mother Nature will never bow to our human authority, Vantage Connect and Vantage Pro2 has let the Charles family make her a true partner in the process.

You can check out the weather at Foursight Wines on their WeatherLink.com page

AnemometerWeather Check Quiz Question 1:

True or False
: Which one of these wine "facts" is a lie?

A. The ancient Romans believed in seasoning their wine with such favorites as fermented fish sauce, garlic, and lead.
B. Women make better wine tasters.
C. Red wines are made with dark red grapes, while white wines are made from light green, white or yellow grapes.
D. Noble rot is a type of grape fungus that can actually sweeten some types of wine.
E. The ancient Romans dropped a piece of toasted bread in their wine glass to temper the flavor. That's how " toasting" got its name.

(Click here for answers. )

Davis User in Cheticamp, Nova Scotia, Gets a High-Level Visitor

Little Cheticamp is home to many Davis weather stations. Photo by Dennis Jarvis.

Cheticamp is a small, French-speaking Acadian fishing town on Nova Scotia's Cape Breton Island. The charming town is also the brunt of some ferocious winds that regularly whistle through as fast as 150 kph (93 mph). The winds that routinely batter the western shores of Nova Scotia and Cheticamp even have their own nickname: Les sSuetes. They are vicious southeasterly winds that result when a frontal inversion channels the wind over the mountains and down the highlands. Les Suetes are known for not providing much in the way of warning; they just come roaring down the mountainside, making any sort of predictability impossible. The island is also right on the path of a whole bunch of weather systems, including the Ohio Valley systems and systems that track up and down the East Coast. According to "Cruising Cape Breton", winds are also whipped up by the effects of the cold Labrador current and the the Gulf Stream.

So it was no surprise what our Vice President, Kevin, found there when he took a family trip to Cheticamp: lots of Davis weather stations!

"Davis weather stations were everywhere! I saw more Davis stations than any other place I've been," Kevin reported. "There were over 20 in this small coastal town. I saw a broken Weather Wizard III (no vane and no cups) and stopped. I was able to track down the owner and he was a big weather buff. He showed me written logs of high wind speeds, several over 150 km/hr!"

But the logs ended suddenly when the antique station finally lost its wind cups to a piece of debris in one of those high windstorms wind.

Hand-written logs of high winds ended when the Weather Wizard III's anemometer lost its wind cups in 2001.

Even though this station was a vintage one, Kevin has fixed the missing cups issue, and is working on drafting this weather buff's roof to test our stations in high winds in a real-life setting.

(We like to think about what that Cheticampian weather buff thought when he answered a knock at the door to find the Vice President of Davis Instruments standing there, asking why his Weather Wizard III was broken!)

AnemometerWeather Check Quiz Question 2:

True or False:
The Cajuns of Louisiana are descendants of the Acadians who settled in Nova Scotia.

Extra Credit: One of these is NOT a Canadian weather word. Which one?

A. Alberta Clipper
B. Snow Cow
C. Barn Burner
D. Wreckhouse
E. Misk
F. Stun Breeze
G. Wooley Whipper

(Click here for answers. )

We May Have Discovered the Oldest Operating Davis Weather Station

Is this Davis Digitar Weather Pro the oldest operating Davis weather station out there?

We got one of the best letters ever from John Jorgensen, of Monrovia, California, who is the owner of what is possibly the oldest working Davis weather station.

"I am a dyed-in-the-wool Weather Nut," John offered, by way of credentials. "And have been for over 56 years. "

He went on to tell us about his weather station, a Digitar Weather Pro, his birthday gift from his wife in 1989.
"Believe it or not, that weather station is still fully functioning. The station with features of temperature, wind direction and speed, and time all work. This unit has been faithful for 26 years. "

How cool is THAT??

"I have been toying with the idea of upgrading to one of your better [not better, John, but newer. . . ] weather stations, John wrote, "but feel this would hurt its feelings. "

Only a true Weather Nut Extrodinaire is concerned with how his weather station feels! (Oh, how we love you John!)

In closing, he threw down a gauntlet. "I believe this is a Guinness World of Weather Station Fun record. "

Is he right? Do you have a working Davis station that predates 1989? If so let us know!

Vantage Pro2 Featured on France 2's "Special Envoy" Television

Infoclimat shared a video on our Facebook page of a a prime time story that aired on France 2's "Special Envoy" show. It features Infoclimat's installation of a Vantage Pro2 to their network in the beautiful Pyrenees. Click through to practice your French.

Nik Wallenda Loves His Vantage Pro2

The fabulous, coolest, most balanced Nik Wallenda is a big Davis fan. He ought to be, having crossed the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls and between Chicago skyscrapers with Davis Vantage Pro2s telling him what's happening with the micro climate, especially the WIND. Check out his video review here.

AnemometerWeather Check Quiz Question 3:

True or False: Wind can carve a canyon ten times faster than water.

(Click here for answers. )

>> Back to Menu

AnemometerWEATHER 101

Clouds are the Original Forecast Tool

On a recent cross-country plane trip, we were gazing out the window at the wondrously beautiful sight of clouds seen from above. While fellow passengers slept or read or watched movies, we had our nose plastered to the window to get a better view of the solid-seeming, glowing and reflecting, billowing, majestic sight that until only very recently was reserved for viewing by angels only.

No scientific explanation does justice to clouds. Knowing they form because air rises and cools does little to explain why you sort of want to cry when you see a sunset through them. We can understand that when an air packet is lifted, the pressure within it decreases with height and the parcel expands and cools, and its relative humidity increases until the water vapor condenses around an aerosol particle and becomes visible. But how does that explain how that expanded, cooled, and moist bit of air, when it becomes part of a cumulus cloud, looks EXACTLY like a rabbit riding a dolphin?

Clouds are just plain old beautiful. Even an anvil-shaped cumulonimbus, with its promise of buckets of rain and threats of thunder and lightning, is breathtakingly beautiful to us weather buffs. Clouds are sometimes so beautiful people believe they are supernatural signs. Just a few days ago residents of San Jose, Costa Rica were treated to an iridescent cloud show they called "End of Times" and, because it occurred on Costa Rica's Independence Day, as, perhaps, "a sign from God. " Check out the video on ABC.com here. Spectacular!

Before we could watch clouds from airplane windows and had fancy weather stations to help forecast weather, people often use the clouds in the sky to determine what was coming weather-wise.

High, wispy cirrus clouds usually mean fair weather in the short term, but if they are drifting westward across the sky and thickening as they pile up on the horizon they might be trying to tell us to expect a change in weather from an approaching front in the next 24 hours. They also tell us the wind direction. A sky white with thin, high, sheets of cirrostratus clouds says "bring a rain jacket, or snow boots. " Cirrocumulus clouds with neat streaks usually indicate fair, but chilly, weather. Heavy gray altostratus that block the sun into a dim disk precede storms. A morning with thick blankets of altocumulus that block the sun can mean a thunderstorm in the afternoon. A tall anvil-topped cumulonimbus means rain and thunder, and possibly a tornado, any minute. The anvil usually points the direction the storm is moving, so you know which way NOT to go if you want to avoid it. If you see hanging mammatus clouds off that cumulonimbus, consider yourself warned that severe weather is on the way.

Here's a photo guaranteed to bring sweet dreams (especially if you live in the west and dream of rain clouds. . . ), taken by Julie Poisson in Phoenix, Arizona.

InfoPlease has a handy chart of clouds and what they forecast. Check it out and amaze your friends!

Here's a beautiful song, "Clouds," written and recorded by teenager Zach Sobiech as he was in the last stages of his valiant battle with cancer, and this moving version of his song with a huge choir. Thank you, Zach, and rest in peace up, up, up in the clouds.

AnemometerWeather Check Quiz Question 4:

Can clouds form without aerosol particles?

Extra Credit: Fill in the blanks with these weather geeky terms: topographic, fronts, convection, aerosol particles, convergence

Clouds are formed by:
1. Surface heating and _________________which cause warmed air to rise
2. Forced lifting along ______________ barriers (such as mountains)
3. _____________ of surface air
4. Forced lifting of air along weather_______________
5. Increased ________________ from air pollution

Extra Extra Credit : True or False: A hazy sky indicates lower humidity than a deep blue sky.

(Click here for answers. )

>> Back to Menu

Crane Safety and Wind

A recent terrible tragedy in Mecca in which high wind gusts caused a crane to flip onto the Grand Mosque when it was full of worshipers, reminds us, again, of the unstoppable power of moving air. The accident killed 111 people and injured another 400 people.

An article in Wired did a good job of explaining the physics involved in keeping cranes safe in high winds, and in what failed that night in Mecca.

Writer Nick Stockton explained that the type of crane in this accident was a crawler crane (named for their tank-like treads). Crawler cranes, having a very low center of gravity, are far less stable than tower cranes and must be on very firm and level ground. But even then, Stockton wrote, "Wind is a crane's greatest foe, and even a perfectly set-up structure is susceptible. This is because the boom acts like a giant lever that the wind can push upon. "

AnemometerTECH TIPS

Mounting a Fan-Aspirated Radiation Shield

We had a call into our tech support team about a Vantage Pro2 with 24-Hour Fan Aspirated Radiation Shield that seemed to be reading temperatures incorrectly. Our tech support rep asked how the station was mounted, and the customer said he had it sitting on a deck. Aha!I The problem was suddenly very clear!

The fan in a fan-aspirated shield pulls the air up through a center tube that is open (and covered with a screen) on the bottom of the shield and over the temp/hum sensor. This customer was thinking the air was pulled in between the plates of the shield - like the passive radiation shield. By placing it on a deck, he had effectively blocked the air flow.

He got himself a tripod and mounted the station on it, and voila, problem solved!

>> Back to Menu

AnemometerMail Bag & I Spy a Davis Station

Spied on Mars (the Hawaiian One)!

One of our engineers, Josh, who loves thinking about Mars when he's not coming up with brilliant ideas for making our weather stations even better, was reading about the HI-SEAS Mission in Science magazine.

Six scientists (four Americans, one German, and one French researcher) are locking themselves away in a dome in Hawaii for a year to simulate a mission to Mars. The dome doesn't sound like a very fun place to live, but it is equipped with research equipment, and Josh noticed one piece of important equipment in a photo of mission participants leaving the dome: a Vantage Pro2! Josh is ready to sign up. . .but we need him here!

Spied Among Inca Ruins!

Fernando Sáenz Fernández of ClimaMeteoro, our Ecuadorian distributor, sent us this stunning portrait of a Vantage Vue standing watch over the Inca ruins of Ingapirca, Canar Province, Ecuador.

Spied on Twitter!

Meteorologist Francis Adamo first made our day on Twitter by posting that he was "nerding out at work today, installing a Vantage Pro2: the Rolls Royce of Weather stations."

He then continued to delight us by tweeting this photo of the station installed in the field at The Arboretum of the University of Guelph, in Ontario, Canada. Francis is our kind of nerd!

The Weather Channel tweeted this gorgeous "sunrise over Vantage Vue" photo! They were reporting from the beach at Mackinaw City, Michigan, with their mobile Vantage Vue mounted on a jazzy Toyota Prius.

Spied (Indirectly) in Antarctica!

John Walker wrote to tell us he had just received his summer edition of the Drexel University magazine.

"I was scanning through when I saw in the lead article what appears to be [Yes! It is!] a Vantage Pro2 weather station featured in a photo taken in Antarctica. The article documents the trip by Drexel's Department of Civil Architectural and Environmental Engineering and the Department of Chemistry. The trip was supported by a $390,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to take a Aerodyne Aerosol Mass Spectrometer to Antarctica for the first time to analyze small particles in the air. "

Spied at the World Agronomists Association Expo in Milan!

Simone Monica, of our Italian distributor Salvarani, snapped this photo of a familiar friend they installed to greet attendees of the Expo focusing on "Food and Identity. "

AnemometerWeather Check Quiz Question 5:

The world's population is growing, and it's a good thing wise people like the World Association of Agronomists are thinking about the future of human food sources. How much will we need to increase food production by 2050?

(Click here for answers. )

>> Back to Menu

No Such Thing as a "Degree Kelvin?"

We have to send a nit-picker's high-five to James Frysinger, of Doyle, Tennessee, for pointing out that in our last issue's quiz, we asked if "one degree Kelvin is equal to one degree Celsius. "

James says we weren't supposed to put in the "degree," that it's just a kelvin.

We say, well, he's 99.5% right. The logic is that degrees are sort of arbitrary; they are not an absolute unit like a Kelvin. 2°C does not mean twice as much of something (like temperature) than 1°C, but 2K does represent twice 1K. We'll take the .5% of correctness because this convention is still not totally agreed upon and even some textbooks (including the one we used for the question) still use "degrees Kelvin."

Thanks, Jim! We won't make THAT mistake again. (But there are so many more to be made. . .it's such a big curious world!)

 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: Which one of these wine "facts" is a lie?

Not true: Red wines are made with dark red grapes, while white wines are made from light green, white or yellow grapes (C). True: Red wines are fermented with their skins and the process extracts the color. White wines are not fermented with the skins present. From Random Facts.

>> Back to Menu

Question 2:True or False: The Cajuns of Louisiana are descendants of the Acadians who settled in Nova Scotia.

True. During the French and Indian war, the British demanded that the Acadians fight the Indians and the French. While the settlers wouldn't bow to French authority, they didn't want to fight them either. They also did not want to fight the native people with whom they had established a very good relationship. So the British exiled them by packing them onto cargo ships and shipping them throughout the 13 colonies. The survivors - half died en route - were sold into slavery or indentured servitude, or sent back to France. Eventually, they returned from France to settle in the Spanish colony of Louisiana. Acadien. . .Cadian. . .Cajun!

Extra Credit: One of these is NOT a Canadian weather word. Which one?

"Barn Burner" is not a weather term, but it is almost as great as a good weather event! Especially if you are Canadian! It's a hockey game that is fast and crazy with lots of goals and scraps! The others are all the real deal to the weather watchers in our northern neighbor. Find our what they mean on The Weather Doctor's page.

>> Back to Menu

Question 3: True or False: Wind can carve a canyon ten times faster than water.

True. A new study of canyons in the Andes mountains in northeast Chile has indicated that wind is probably just as important as water in carving some canyons. In fact, wind carves some canyons 10 times faster than water. The canyons they studied are on the edge of the dry Atacama Desert. This finding has a bearing on astronomy. The thinking now is that the canyons on Mars, long dry, have been modified over time by wind, which means there might have been much less water flowing on young Mars that we had previously thought. Read more in the article in Science Magazine.

>> Back to Menu

Question 4: Can clouds form without aerosol particles?

No. No particles, no clouds. Check out this cool video of a cup of hot tea on an ice breaker in the Arctic, where the there are almost no aerosol particles. You'd expect the tea's steam and people's breath to be visible, but they're not. . . .until someone uses a lighter to put some particles into the air.

Extra Credit: Clouds are formed by:
1. Surface heating and convection which cause warmed air to rise
2. Forced lifting along topographic barriers (such as mountains)
3. Convergence of surface air
4. Forced lifting of air along weather fronts
5. Increased aerosol particles from air pollution

Extra Extra Credit : True or False: A hazy sky indicates higher lower than a deep blue sky.
False. We see blue because the air is scattering the light. Humidity decreases the air's ability to scatter light.

>> Back to Menu

Question 5: How much will we need to increase food production by 2050?

According the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, the population of the world in 2050 is estimated to be 9.1 billion, and that will require raising overall food production by 70% over 2005 levels. Production in developing countries will need to almost double.

>> Back to Menu


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!
If you would like to receive the Weather Club e-newsletter via email every month, sign up now.

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.