Users of Windy: why do you want historical weather data?

  • Dear Windy users,

    If you'd indulge me in a curiosity...

    One of the most talked about and requested topics on in the windy community forum seems to be historical weather data. Windy doesn't provide this of course; we're talking about an obscenely huge amount of data. National weather services are usually the only ones equipped to maintain such a vast archive.

    What I wondered was, what do you want it for? For example, I know some people are researchers; others perhaps want to know about biases that their specific locations have with respect to model data; maybe others have interests in climatology and climate change; some people might even be dabbling in machine learning.

    Please share your thoughts on how you use/want to use historical weather data, and fundamentally: are you talking about historical observational data, historical model data, or both? I'm particularly interested if anyone has experience with machine learning in weather analysis, but that's just a personal curiosity. I'd like to start a more general dialogue about how we use historical data. And if we can clarify the applications of the data, who knows what we, as a community, could achieve?


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    could I ask your thoughts?

    How do you use historical data? What format do you like the data to be in, and how do you process it for use? In what way do you then use it? Many of you are sailors for instance; is it old model data you want? Or observational data? Do you already have methods (or just ideas?) to process the data to make it useful to your professions and hobbies?

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    @johnckealy said in Users of Windy: why do you want historical weather data?:

    at do you want it for? For e

    I need historical data because my primary use for Windy is offshore fishing. What I do is log my trips. I log weather, sea conditions, and productivity of the trip. I keep this log to see if there are conditions that are favorable to the productivity of the trip. For example SW winds sea (Gulf Stream) current and so forth. I normally make this log a few days after the trip. I also use Rutger's gulfstream imagery to sea temps.

  • Thanks for the response @rfleming, that's really interesting :) So it sounds like the kind of historical data you'd want is surface analysis charts? Surface analysis charts are a nice mix of model and observed data, but lack finer-scale detail.

    Would you say that it's mainly past model (i.e. gridded data) output that you want, to get a feel for the past weather across an area, or is it more important to be accurate, which would require actual observations (which aren't gridded).

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    Actual observation would be better for me. You are correct about surface analysis. That is also a very big part of what I am looking for. High pressure, Low pressures, approaching fronts and receding fronts are always great information.

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    I forgot to mention, I hope that one day you guys would look at competing with XMWeather. I purchase XM weather to get it on my Garmin chart plotter and it's okay but no where close to as good as what provides.

  • @johnckealy,
    I want historical data to help me search for the best time of year to plan a kiteboarding excursion.

  • ...and to reflect on previous sessions' recorded wind speed and atmospheric pressure.

  • Thanks for the response @4kiting, that's an interesting one too. I like to kiteboard as well and I know how finicky the weather can be when you're looking for the right conditions! It sounds again like a surface analysis is what you want? But perhaps a surface analysis that contains more details, and maybe even spot observations/satellite data mixed in.

    @rfleming I should mention, when you say "you guys", I don't work at Windy. I'm just a fellow weather enthusiast :) I had a look at XMWeather though, seems to be mainly satellite data that they do?

    I really think there's some potential here for a new way of looking at surface analysis... I'm starting to get the feeling that a big question many people might be asking, when they look for historical data, is: When I look at a pattern in the windy forecast that I've seen before, what does that really mean for me?

    I'd love to hear any other opinions.

  • John,
    I just discovered Windy yesterday, so I'm trying to discover which model has the more accurate forecast for mid-day winds at my location (Northern Virginia). This is a one-time need that requires both model data and observation data. But only for one recent month. So an archive going back two months would cover me. I would not be doing a big full-year comparison. For that, I'll just use Windy going forward and see how well it predicts my winds.

  • I hope my request counts, for it is strictly for sentimental reasons..... 😊
    During a couple of very brisk spring days and nights early 2018, I undertook the transfer of my very first sailboat.
    As I was a completely novice sailor I had not heard of Windy and so, with only the most basic weather info, I started the maiden voyage. Little did I know that I was going to be in for much more than I had asked for!
    I have records of the GPS path sailed, but none of the wind conditions. It would mean a lot to be able to see those weather data....

  • Hey @StephenBeste, welcome to the world of Windy! Ivo and the team have really created something special here. So, as others have mentioned, the "historical" data you need doesn't go back especially far... And it sounds like you want to understand model performance for your specific location. There's a technique called Model Output Statistics (MOS) that deals with this. Although model verification is a whole science in itself, I've also been interested lately in the idea of creating something like that on a more basic level. Maybe I'll look into it again...

    @Franzus-0, of course your post counts! Do bear in mind though, this is merely a discussion; I must reiterate that I don't work for Windy, and I'm not collecting "requests" as such! Congrats on the new vessel, and glad you found your way in the end :) As I understand it, that was one of Ivo's main motivations for Windy; that everyone could have access to the best data possible for free. I was blown away when I saw that they had the full 9km ECMWF fields on discovering Windy; I found myself asking around about Windy at the next ECMWF workshop I was at :) As to the historical data, you seem to be looking for something similar to @rfleming – essentially a type of analysis chart.

    Some kind of MOS-based analysis charts that go back a few months, perhaps with some satellite and MADIS data mixed in.... this might have to be my next project :) Thank you so much all for your input. Please keep the discussion going if you have any other perspectives on historical data!

  • @johnckeal Hi I've just registered as a member with Windy and my interest in historical weather data is for fire weather. Cheers Mel

  • Hey @Coop4433, welcome to the community! Fire weather sounds badass; can you be more specific? I assume you'd be interested in winds at multiple model levels, and maybe some particle dispersion models. Model history of CO2, air quality, aerosol... that sort of thing? Observations?

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    @johnckealy said in Users of Windy: why do you want historical weather data?:


    I would love to have access to historical weather data for aviation purposes.

    I work for a charter airline that operates to destinations all over the world. We would love to have this data regarding averages for a given month. This is crucial when trying to figure out our Take-Off and Landing performance for future operations.

    Whats the average high for a given month or week for a specific time during the year? What are the average winds during a specific time of day? Do we need to add a stop somewhere because recent annual trends show its going to be too warm? Or can we make a specific nonstop route because its trending cooler?

    Some websites try to provide this data...most seem inconsistent. However, we would love to see this information come from Windy.

  • Hi @garlandz, thanks for the comments. It's a little unclear what you mean. Sounds like you're talking about a climatology, are you not? The "average high" (do you mean temperature?) over a week would be quite different to that of a month, or for a certain month across many years. What are "recent annual trends"? Is that a reference to climate change? Can you give an example of a website that tries to do it? Are you speaking to purely observational data (at airfields), or is there a model component (remember that Windy are primarily focused on model visualization)?

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    @johnckealy said in Users of Windy: why do you want historical weather data?:

    Hello. Yes climatology would be the correct term I am looking for. I would love for Windy to have "average highs and lows" data built in for airfields, especially under ICAO codes. Would be extremely helpful! Right now we take data off of Meteoblue. But I would like to have more accurate data taken from the history of METAR reports if it is possible.

    I guess what I am looking for overall is a history of purely observational data to reference at certain airfields built into windy.

    Thanks for your time.

  • Ah well here's a coincidence @garlandz; looks like the guys at Windy just added this!

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    The new future is great! Thanks for the quick responses. I look forward to windy becoming better and better everyday.

    Best Regards,

  • @garlandz I feel I should mention again (third time this thread!) – I don't work for Windy! This thread is a discussion between users :)

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