A digital tour of the Internet for weather data in a remote location in the Andes

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One of the pleasures of my work is that it provides a meaningful reason to hunt for
weather data in unusual places.? I got a request several days ago from someone who's
involved in a sustainable building project for a ski area in the Chilean Andes and thus
asked if I had any weather data for Farellones outside of Santiago Chile two-thirds of the
way up the Andes (see below)

This request sent me searching through my primary data sources - NOAA's Integrated Surface
Hourly Database (ISD) and the WeatherUnderground web site.
When I looked in my map of ISD stations, I found a scattering of stations along the coast
and around the capital of Santiago, but nothing in the mountainous areas.

When I went to the WeatherUnderground web site (www.wunderground.com) I was pleasantly
surprised to find that Chile has a grid of Personal Weather Stations (PWS)
comparable to what I've seen for North American locations, with one station at Lo
Barnachea apparently right at the Ski Lodge (Blue arrow below).

However, before declaring victory, I took a look at the data quality at this station, and
was a little disappointed. The station (ILOBARNE16) had data for just barely a year,
plus the wind anemometer seems not to be working:

But never say die...? Since there are many stations nearby, I kept checking and finally
found one 10 miles to the west (ISANTIAG104, red arrow on WU map above)
that had wind speed and direction:

Piecing things together, I told the client that I can create a single-year file for the
ski area combining the temperature and humidity from the lodge (ILOBARNE16) with the wind
data from ISANTIAG104 10 miles to the west, along with the cloud cover data? from the
nearest ISD station CHL_SANTIAGO-EULOGIO-SA_855800? further away to estimate the solar
radiation. Unfortunately, Chile is about the only piece of the Western Hemisphere for
which public satellite-derived solar radiation is unavailable (I'll post something about
this shortly later).

Although this weather file is not ideal, I'm pleased that I was able to take the journey
this far and provide something that's quite usable. Besides, I didn't know until now that
Santiago has ski areas so close!


Joe Huang
White Box Technologies, Inc.
346 Rheem Blvd., Suite 205A
Moraga CA 94556
yjhuang at whiteboxtechnologies.com
http://weather.whiteboxtechnologies.com for simulation-ready weather data
(o) (925)388-0265
(c) (510)928-2683
"building energy simulations at your fingertips"

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