This is the author’s blog for the Otter Valley Weather website.
The Otter Valley Weather Station was setup in Spring 2005 and consists of a set of Met Office approved sheathed minimum and maximum thermometers, plus a wet & dry bulb hygrometer (using a humidity calculator) housed in a Stevenson Screen. A standard Casella 5″ rain gauge is also used.
As an addition, electronic measurements are also taken using a Davis VP2 Pro+ AWS which feeds directly back to a PC enabling the production of continuous 5 minute data sets. Parameters which are measured electronically are wind speed (anemometer at 10 metres elevation) and direction, ground minimum, soil temperature at 10, 30 and 100 cm depth, rain intensity (via a tipping bucket rain gauge), UV Index, solar radiation and sunshine duration (Instromet R&D type Sun Sensor & BL Sunshine Recorder). There is also a webcam and gives a fish-eye 170° view of the southern=eastern sky looking towards the sea.
The weather station is situated on a relatively wide open valley floor of the River Otter, just north of the village of Otterton and is sheltered to the east and west, and slightly exposed to the north, and rather exposed to the south. The geology of the area is predominantly Otter Sandstone of Triassic age with the soils being sandy and characteristically orange-red in colour.
The close proximity of the sea (2 kms) to the south-east of this weather station means that it has a strong influence on the climate here, moderating high temperatures during the summer with a sea breeze, and making severe frosts a rarity.
You can find the Otter Valley Weather website at: http://www.ottervalleyweather.me.uk