New Historical Weather API Feature(s):

  • Historical Weather Data API: Multi-sensor satellite based precipitation

Historical Weather Data API Update: Multi-sensor satellite based precipitation

Our Daily Historical Weather API now serves multisensor satellite based precipitation derived from the NASA Global Precipitation Measurement project via the precip_gpm field.

This amazing product allows for retreival of precipitation observations in areas where very few ground based observations exist (Africa, Asia, South America, etc).

Why does this matter?

Accurate precipitation is critical for many industries. For example, an Agronomist may be interested in the impact a recent rainstorm on agriculture output in central Africa. Reliance on stations (gauge based) precipitation would be inadaquate, because there are less than 500 total reporting stations in central Africa!

Weather Stations reporting precipitation in Central Africa

Multi-sensor satellite observations allow for visibility into rainfall in areas that have little to no station coverage! Credits: NASA/JAXA, Hal Pierce - NASA

In the example above, over 50-150 mm of rainfall fell over areas of south Uganda, and western Kenya between April 27 and May 4, 2018. This rainfall fell over a drought stricken area, and resulted in displacement of over 200,000 people, and over 100 deaths.

Well, did weather stations pick up this rainfall? Let's check!

Location Station precipitation (mm) Satellite precipitation (mm)
Kampala, Uganda 0 mm 50 mm
Bungoma, Kenya 0 mm 77 mm
Sigatu Island (Lake Victoria) 0 mm 110 mm

How about other historical weather data providers?

Provider Precipitation (Kampala, UG) Precipitation (Bungoma, KE)
DarkSky 0 mm 0 mm
OpenWeathermap 0 mm 0 mm
Weatherbit 50 mm 77 mm

According to other providers, it was a nice week in Kampala. Not a drop of rain fell from the sky. While our satellite backed observations paint a different picture:

Flooding Kampala, Uganda - May 4th, 2018

Conclusion

Accurate precipitation is critical for many industries. Station based precipitation alone is not enough to analyze rainfall! Especially over areas with little to no station coverage, or a history of poor data controls. We hope you will enjoy this update! We have many more coming soon.

The Weatherbit API Team

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