Since its launch in June 2011, the Weather Observations Website (WOW) has received more than 100 million weather observations from weather enthusiasts all over the world.
WOW was developed by the Met Office with support from the Royal Meteorological Society and the Department for Education. The aim was to provide a hub for UK weather observations, which can help educate children about weather and encourage further growth in the UK's amateur weather observing community. Despite its UK focus, WOW has global coverage and has attracted visits from weather enthusiasts in more than 170 countries.
In November 2012 WOW won "Best Use of Cloud Services"; and "IT Project Demonstrating Most Effective Use of Collaborative Technology" at the prestigious UK IT Industry Awards.
Aidan Green, Strategic Projects Manager at the Met Office, said: "People love to talk about the weather, and WOW gives them an exciting new and easy way to share their photos and observation with others. With an average of over 4 million observations being received every month, WOW has really captured the imagination of weather enthusiasts in the UK and around the world.
"The observations provide forecasters at the Met Office with an additional source of real-time information, which is particularly useful in severe weather events. By sharing current weather observations we can generate a picture of how the weather varies from place to place and moves across the world."
WOW has recently been updated to make it easier to input observations and photos. Further improvements include:
- Reporting of weather impacts, and associated photos;
- Display of Twitter snow reports tweeted using #uksnow along with WOW reports of snow;
- Integration of Met Office 5000 site forecasts into WOW;
- Investigation of options for collection & visualization of energy & temperature output data from solar panel systems globally;
- Improved photo display and search functionality.
Further developments are planned to enable observations and photos to be submitted by mobile phone.