Letham Shank Farm - Crops, Machinery and Livestock


   Letham Shank Weather Station

Local Time
     Latitude  55° 46' 36" N   Longitude 02° 02' 11" W
     Elevation  54 m  
     Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland TD15 1UX

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Weather Station Details
Davis VP2 Weather Station

After spending many years at sea, a large part of which was in the tropics, before satellite imaging became normal, watching the weather became second nature. I sailed on several ships that sent in observations to the UK Met. Office and when I came 'shoreside' I continued observing and logging. I have ended up in two occupations predominately affected by weather - shipping and farming. This is also the reason for the recording day beginning/ending at midnight and using the official wind unit of knots.

Location Map The site is 54 metres (178 feet) above sea level and is on an exposed south facing slope, running to the River Tweed, which is at sea level (tidal), surrounded by arable and grass land. Exposure to East (the North Sea) South and West are unhindered but the slope continues to 137 metres (450 feet) about 1 mile to the North. The Cheviot hills lie due south but do not have a marked effect on weather apart from a possible limited rain shadow effect. The prevailing wind is Southwesterly and the station has 'visibility' of over 40 miles in this sector.

The weather is moderated by the proximity of the North Sea which restricts the temperature range throughout the year and is responsible for the 'Haar' mists during the warmer part of the year when an east or northeast wind is common. However during cold weather in winter, a gentle west or northwest wind can bring very cold air down the river valley. To the best of my knowledge this is the most northerly PWS in England. Weather recording began here in 1984 but only complete and detailed records from 1995 are available on this website.

Davis VP2 Display

In 2012 a Davis VP2 wireless was purchased from 'Prodata' as the main weather station, as the Instromet station, being cabled, was limited when a sensor reposition had to be made. The Davis VP2 Soil Station  A dedicated constantly running PC (Acer Revo RL80) uses 'Cumulus' Software (Highly recommended) to feed the 'fast changing' data to the web by FTP every 20 seconds, with a full update every 5 minutes. Both stations, the 'manual' raingauge and mercury in glass thermometers are run as double checks. The raingauge and temperature sensors are in the middle of a 1.5ha (4acre) paddock with the lip of the gauge at 800mm height. The nearest object over 1m is 50m distant.

The anemometer and wind vane are mounted on a 50mm diameter aluminium tube 4m long on a former telephone pole about 7m above ground level, putting the anemometer at 10m. There are no objects within 50m and nothing higher than 2m within 150m. At 180m (line of sight)from the station console, this appears to be the practical limit for transmissions using the 'sensor transmitter kit'. A soil temperature and moisture station was added in 2013 and this measures at 300mm & 600mm depth in a permanent grass paddock with heavy silty clay soil.'Zeal' mercury in glass Thermometer

Instromet Ultra Pro Climatica Plus Display

The secondary weather station is an Ultra-Pro 'Climatica Plus' supplied by Instromet Ltd. It has evolved over the years with a Met-Log data logger in 1998 (which links to a PC via serial port) and the MET4NET software in 2004. This has proved very reliable and rugged, having had one new anemometer and one new temperature sensor since 1995 and indeed the display unit is a very attractive feature in my office.

The temperature sensors (dry and traditional wet bulb) are located in a Stevenson screen alongside a Met Office Pattern ('Zeal' - Mercury in Glass) thermometer for calibration. Cables are routed through underground conduits to the junction box in an outbuilding.

The Stevenson ScreenThe anemometer is mounted on a mast some 2m above the roofline of the farmhouse at a height of around 9m. Some turbulence is experienced in certain directions. Kew Pattern Mercury BarometerThe sunshine sensor is also on this mast and is exposed to sunlight all day, every season and is set at a level where a distinct shadow is cast by an object before sunshine is measured. This gives the true value 'sunshine hours' displayed on the website whereas the 'solar radiation' figure is derived from the Davis station.

The barometer value used is the Davis reading, but is compared to the Instromet every 15 minutes. The values are checked daily against a 'Kew Pattern' Mercury barometer which was fully serviced and rebuilt in 2015.

 How the Station data is Recorded.
Parameter Davis Instromet   Comments
Rain     Best gauge location.
Sun Hours     Measures to 0.01 hrs.(36s)
Solar Radiation     Measures in W/m²
Temperature     Compared
Wet Bulb     'Traditional' wet bulb.
Dew Point      
Barometer     Checked vs 'Kew'Hg
Wind (Dir. & Force)     Best anemometer location.
Soil Temp.& Moist.     Wireless to Davis.

Daily totals/averages are saved to a database every day and backed up to a local PC and 'Dropbox'. Also summary data is saved to Excel with one month per sheet.

The basic website was written in 1996 merely as an add on to the farm website and the original design has been maintained although it is now almost totally php driven and constantly being 'modernised'.

If you would like to see this weather station on an Android device, download this free App. and the required file is: http://www.lethamshank.co.uk/cumulus/cumulus.xml

If you have a comments or questions, please get in touch - Here. Davis Anemometer

'Cumulus' also sends data to:

  European Weather Network
  Met Office WOW
  PWS Weather

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