Man takes the weather with him
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.
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.’’
Mark Persson with his weather station.