Environment Canada station sites are selected and operated by Environment Canada following their standards. Weather INnovations Consulting LP (WIN) is responsible for site selection of their stations within a target area (usually a township) as provided by SCIC. These target areas were selected by the Corporation to provide even geographic distribution of weather stations. SCIC has no direct influence over the exact location of the weather stations.
WIN follows Environment Canada’s principles for locating stations. These guidelines state that sites should be as representative as possible of the surrounding areas, and should not be influenced by surrounding natural or man-made features, including minimum distances to obstructions such as buildings and trees.
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Precipitation and Temperature Measurement
Precipitation and temperature values during the growing season are the basis for the weather-based programs offered by SCIC. Data processing and quality control measures are currently performed by Weather Innovations Incorporate (WIN).
WIN weather stations are specifically designed to meet the data needs of SCIC ’s programs by providing a continuous dataset; that is, a dataset with essentially no missing data. To achieve this, all WIN stations are equipped with dual sensors and dual data loggers which provides a "backup" should the primary sensors or data loggers fail. Some Environment Canada stations also have more than one precipitation gauge which helps prevent missing data and provides a check for instrument malfunctions.
Weather stations vary in the type of instrument used to measure precipitation. All WIN and some Environment Canada stations use a "tipping bucket rain gauge" which measures liquid precipitation in 0.2 millimetre increments. All WIN precipitation gauges are calibrated to Environment Canada standards prior to each season.
Any solid precipitation (snow, hail, etc) must melt in the tipping bucket gauge before it is registered. If snow is light or wet, and the temperature is near or above freezing (usually the case in April), the snow will melt on contact and be measured. If the snow is heavy and temperatures are below freezing, some snow will accumulate in the gauge and be measured when melting occurs. Some Environment Canada stations use "weighing gauges" which measure any type of precipitation—liquid or solid—by measuring the weight of the water in the precipitation.
Environment Canada’s stations have temperature sensors located at 1.25 to 1.5 metres above ground. All WIN temperature sensors are at 1.25 metres so that temperature measurements are directly comparable to historical Environment Canada data used to develop normal first fall frost dates and premium rates. Historical temperature data does not exist for measurement heights other than this standard height. This standard height has been adopted by meteorologists so that temperature measurements are representative of a relatively large surrounding area, and are not as greatly influenced by small changes in topography or by surface characteristics.
Temperature sensors have an operating range of -40°C to +60°C and are capable of recording temperatures within 0.1°C. All temperature sensors (WIN and Environment Canada) have an accuracy of ± 0.6°C or better. Station temperature is recorded at 15 minute intervals. WIN temperature sensors are checked for accuracy prior to and during the growing season. In addition, WIN temperature sensor output from the twin instruments are compared monthly during the growing season to insure no sensors are malfunctioning.