Weather conditions impact many aspects of our lives and affect many of our activities. Having an accurate record of what the weather did at a certain time can be useful for a wide range of activities including, law enforcement, construction project management, snow clearing and agriculture. The following example illustrates the usefulness of past weather records in the context of agriculture.
Knowing weather conditions several hours before or after a chemical application is critical for understanding how effective the application may be. The effectiveness of some chemicals is highly dependent on environmental conditions surrounding the application itself.
The Alberta Climate Information Service (ACIS) provides hourly meteorological data with insight into what the humidity levels, temperature and rainfall and were in the days before and after spraying. Since each chemical is different, certain meteorological conditions are optimal while others can reduce the effectiveness of a chemical.
Assessing weather conditions
For example, Nufarm Tralkoxydim is an herbicide used for post-emergence control of annual grasses in small grain cereals. Application injury to the crop may occur when applied to non-tillering cereal crops that are exposed to temperatures of 4 degrees C or less, up to 48 hours before or after application.
Figure 1. Hourly temperature trends at two stations in the Central Peace Region
In the example shown in Figure 1, if you wish to spray today but it’s been cold over the past few nights, you may be concerned that it will get too cold over the next few days. The first step is to check the local weather forecast. If the trend is for continued cool overnight temperatures, it would be useful to see how cold it’s been over the past few nights at one or more local weather stations.
This data can be accessed using the Current and Historical Alberta Weather Station Data Viewer. The viewer shows recent temperatures, captured on an hourly basis. In Figure 1, two nearby weather stations recorded temperatures near or below the critical 4 degrees C threshold across a 2-day time span. This indicates that waiting for overnight lows to increase, or a significant change in the forecast, would be prudent at this time.
Using the viewer you could also view:
- historic frost events, to determine how many hours’ temperatures dipped below zero, and if frost damage is likely or not
- humidity levels, to determine if heavy dew is likely
- wind speeds and directions, to assess spray drift potential
- recent precipitation patterns
The viewer provides this information back to 2008 for hourly data, and back to 2005 for daily data.
Using the Data Viewer
The Current and Historical Alberta Weather Station Data Viewer gives you access to near-real-time hourly and daily meteorological station data, in addition to derivatives generated from this data. The viewer features a map of Alberta showing the locations of active stations. Users can select various elements and derivatives to be displayed or downloaded as charts, tables or graphs.
Figure 2. ACIS station data viewer page, graphing hourly data
To generate the Graph in Figure 1, go to the Current and Historical Alberta Weather Station Data Viewer:
- Check the Temperature box.
- Select a station(s) location on the map; hovering over a location will make the station name appear.
- Select the hourly period from the drop-down list.
- Select the data range of interest.
- Click the Graph button to generate your graph, or click Download to download your data.
Click the Graph button to generate your graph, or click Download to download your data.
Connect with the Agro-meteorology unit:
Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)