Man takes the weather with him

Matamata Chronicle - - Classified - ABBY BROWN

The weather is a start­ing point for a lot of con­ver­sa­tions, but with Mark Persson you could be in­un­dated with in­for­ma­tion.

You might be told about Mata­mata’s min­i­mum and max­i­mum tem­per­a­tures, hu­mid­ity, rain­fall, wind speed and di­rec­tion.

That’s be­cause Persson’s hobby is his LaCrosse WS2355 weather sta­tion. The sta­tion, which mea­sures 600mm x 600mm and is on a 1200mm pole, is set up in the back­yard of his Sta­tion Rd home, which he shares with his wife Maria, daugh­ter, grand­son and a menagerie of pets. The telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions en­gi­neer’s in­ter­est in me­te­o­rol­ogy started while he was at Mata­mata Col­lege af­ter his dad went on a church mis­sion to Fiji.

The hot­ter sum­mer there, in com­par­i­son to New Zealand, sparked his in­ter­est in cli­mate data.

A fourth form school trip to Noumea in 1977 helped fur­ther nur­ture this hobby.

He has had a sta­tion wher­ever he has lived, in­clud­ing Al­berta, Canada.

‘‘If there is any place where you want to do weather data it is a place like that,’’ he said.

From 1991 to 1996 they ex­pe­ri­enced tem­per­a­tures from mi­nus 37 de­grees to plus 36 de­grees.

He put his data on the weather on an un­der­ground web­site where pri­vate users could record and share their data.

And the page in­spired a friendly com­pe­ti­tion be­tween him and a Hamil­ton res­i­dent.

Persson kept tabs on the man’s page and would text him to say ‘‘we are beat­ing you’’ if Mata­mata’s tem­per­a­tures were higher than Hamil­ton’s that day.

His sta­tion au­to­mat­i­cally trans­mit­ted data to the web­site and he kept track of it on his smart phone.

His many

years

of

us­ing weather sta­tions has shown him how weather has changed.

‘‘It’s in­ter­est­ing to com­pare his­tor­i­cal data be­cause with all the talk about global warm­ing...it’s in­ter­est­ing to see how our cli­mate is warm­ing up.

‘‘The last three years liv­ing in Hamil­ton we have had re­ally long dry spells and droughts.’’

PHOTO: ABBY BROWN

Mark Persson with his weather sta­tion.

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