By Fred Schenkelberg
The local weather affects your products and systems. Knowing the weather helps you plan your wardrobe for the day. Likewise, knowing the weather helps you design a product or system that is able to thrive in the weather conditions it will experience.
The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration tracks, records, and studies weather and climate. It is the recording part the is interest in this discussion. The weather databases have weather observation data going back, in some cases, a hundred years. The data includes temperatures, humidity, precipitation, wind speed, and more.
When building an environmental manual which includes the set of expected weather and use stresses, we need more than just the minimum, average, and maximum values. Better would be a histogram or similar analysis of the expected values. For example, if your product at cold temperatures degrades in performance, knowing how many hours per year it will experience cold temperates is useful information.
One way to gather and provide this rich data is by visiting the NOAA weather databases. Having done this recently I wanted to share my notes on how to find, extract, organize and analyze the weather data, step by step. I spent a bit of time sorting out how to do this and would like to save you the time involved in sorting it out yourself.
Let’s explore in detail how to find, extract, and analyze hourly temperature readings over a recent 10 year period with the result being a histogram and determination of how many hours below freezing may exist for an imaginary product.