There is often an explanation for readings that seem only a little off. Observations from nearby weather stations and other data sources may not match exactly. Weather stations can be sited differently and some areas subject to microclimate conditions. Instrumentation also vary between weather stations; different sensor manufacturers and styles of instruments have different accuracy spec.'s and limitations. The ultrasonic wind sensing used in the SKY unit is a different style of equipment and measurement technique compared to a mechanical cup and vane anemometer. The haptic rain sensor is also a different style of instrument with a different measuring technique compared to a tipping bucket or even a conventional rain collection gauge.
Microclimates are localized atmospheric conditions that differ from those in the surrounding area. For example, most airport weather stations read higher temperatures and lower humidity as they are sited over a tarmac surface where the material of the ground is better at radiating into the air above it. These microclimates can be created from ground vegetation and trees, bodies of water, urban areas or terrain influences, etc.
Siting differences can result in different readings too. Some personal, home weather stations may be poorly sited or just experiencing the environment as it is around them. Anemometers can be obstructed from certain directions and subject to turbulent flow around any obstacle in the wind.
If possible, try moving your SKY around and analyze the data - you might be surprised at the varying microclimates around you and how careful siting makes for accurate data.
- Wind speed is incorrect: Make sure that nothing is in between the transducers and the reflective plate, such as snow, leaves, bird droppings or other debris.
- Wind speed is too low: Observe the surrounding area, 360° around your SKY device; make note of any obstructions that might influence the wind flow. Winds are typically faster at higher altitudes because of surface turbulence. Be careful comparing data from other weather stations and note how high above ground your SKY device is mounted.
SKY uses an ultra sonic anemometer to measure an instantaneous wind speed - there is no inertia involved on the instrumentation as is with a spinning cup anemometer. An inertia-less method of wind speed measurement has inherent differences compared to a mechanical anemometer.
- Unreal wind gust: Erroneously high gust readings are typically caused by water droplets or ice accumulation on the bottom reflecting plate. Insects and debris can also obstruct the ultrasonic signal path and cause incorrect readings.
- Direction incorrect: Make sure the “N” marked on the exterior of the SKY unit is pointed towards true North (not magnetic north). Also ensure the mast and SKY is level. Take a look at the transducers under the roof of the gap - if you notice anything off with any of the transducers, please contact us.
- Direction is not displayed: Sometimes direction cannot be determined during precipitation events. Check the SKY's sensor status in the Smart Weather app: go to settings > station > choose your station > tap Status > scroll down to SKY's Sensor Status. If you read a "Wind Failed" message, please contact us.
- False rain readings: Most false rain readings can result from strong winds on unstable mounts which cause the SKY to sway or shake leading to vibrations detected by the haptic rain sensor. Check your mounting situation and see if you might be able to mitigate any unwanted vibrations. Sturdy masts and added cushioning on the mount can help improve structural stability and reduce wind driven vibrations.
Birds can be another common cause of false rain. If birds become a problem, consider installing a higher perch for them to land on or use shiny, reflective stickers on the SKY and/or the mast to deter avian visitors.
- Over-reporting rain accumulation: Excess rain accumulation is inevitable on wobbly, unstable mounts, especially in in strong winds. The haptic rain sensor in SKY is a precision instrument that is very sensitive to vibrations. It is essential to install the SKY unit on a sturdy mast with secure mount. Check your mounting situation and see if you might be able to mitigate any unwanted vibrations.
- Under-reporting rain accumulation: If your sensor is under-reporting rain accumulation, please see the Rain Accumulation help page.
- Not registering rain: SKY will pick up on light rain but trace amounts of precipitation are unlikely to be detected. First, try opening and closing the battery door (or detach the solar panel accessory momentarily and reattach) to reboot the SKY unit. Check the SKY's sensor status in the Smart Weather app, go to settings > station > choose your station > tap Status > scroll down to SKY's Sensor Status. If you read a "Rain Failed" message, please contact us.
- Low UV readings: Check that nothing is obstructing the UV sensor at the top of the SKY device; leaves, ice, debris, shadows, etc.
- Inaccurate calibration: It can take many days of clear skies to properly calibrate the UV/solar radiation sensor as many cloudless days of measurement are needed to perform calibration routines. Be careful when comparing UV index readings from different equipment. If you find any abnormalities with the sensor readings or notice your UV readings do not improve after a month or so, please contact us.