Data after Death

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Re: Data after Death

Postby Mike Brown » 2015 May 17, 21:30

Thank you all for your thoughts and comment. Take it with me, is probably the one I had not really expected, but with seven children I suspect that is all I will be able to take with me.
Seriously though, it is a real concern, if we are recording this data, and spending a significant amount of time and money doing it,its perhaps not unreasonable that it should go to some use other than our own enjoyment. But I wonder if I might look at a parallel in astronomy. In the early days 'amateurs' were able to make great contributions simply because the national and international machines were not set up. The drawings made by a certain Patrick Moore were published in books and used on TV as the latest information. Yet a few decades later, a space probe is now about to zoom past Pluto, and take pictures of its surface. What value to science can amateurs in that field make now? Obviously things like comets, and other transients like supernova and nova, where they can be found by those who watch the sky so much. Thus perhaps it is so with us 'amateur meteorologists". Perhaps our time has come to view our role differently, than it was in the beginning. Few of us on this forum will not be aware of the likes of the British Rainfall Organization, or other similar amateur organizations and individuals who diligently collected data , not with a Met Office in mind but with interest and a wish to find out things that there were no national bodies to do so. Now there is, and they have satellites and supercomputers and lots of other goodies. Perhaps as amateurs then our role is more immediate and looking for, and recording, the transient events that occur in our field. The thunderstorms, floods, waterspouts, tornadoes. Much can be seen by satellites, which I do myself everyday using downloads, but they cannot see the details that observers on the ground can see.
It does not mean that I am not thankful that COL exists, I am, immensely so. The role of COL goes far more than just storing data from us as we all know, and without that extended role played by COL we would quite rightly question why we are doing all of this. But I guess many of you read Weather magazine, which although I believe has gone a long way from its roots and basic aims, still publishes papers that contain a wealth of data from those of us who supply it to COL, data that is not available from the likes of the Met Office because of the localized nature of the event under question. Again possibly supporting the view that our role is changing. Perhaps there needs to be a new thread if this is to be discussed further, or perhaps I am just losing it a bit as I get older?
Just a thought any way.

Best wishes

Mike
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Re: Data after Death

Postby Richard Hunt » 2015 May 18, 08:30

I agree with the parallel in astronomy.

I have for many years Observed Variable stars and recurrent nova with my 22" scope, all this data goes onto a database for future astronomers to pour over (hopefully), but I cannot keep up with the technology now. I am a purely visual observer, and most of this work is now undertaken using CCDs and computers etc. Tech has overtaken me, and I can no longer compete. I have a very large powerful scope, but that is the only plus point I have, I can do little with it now unless its rigged up to allsorts of equipment that I cannot afford to own.

I too think it is a real concern, if as you say we are recording this data, and spending a significant amount of time and money doing it, its not unreasonable that it should go to some use other than our own enjoyment. I would rather think it has a purpose for the wider world than just 'something to pass the time'.
Doing my astronomy for 'a greater purpose' rather than just observing for the pleasure of it gave me the drive to stay up all hours in freezing conditions any time the sky cleared. I lived for the love of doing some 'real science' and knowing that my data could one day be used.

Its the same with the weather, I enjoy recording and observing, but they has to be a point to it. Placing data onto the COL database is great, and I hope it stays that way, I know the data is not 'official' and the met office do not seem to want it, but at least its something.

I suppose its my way of saying: " I exsisted, I lived, I did this." when I'm dead and gone.
COL Station: 25020.

Watson W-8681 AWS. Standard Stevenson Screen. Maximum and Minimum screen thermometers. Grass minimum thermometer.
5" Copper standard rain gauge. Roof mounted annemometer.
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Re: Data after Death

Postby Darren Rogers » 2015 May 18, 11:39

A couple of points, the first re-emphasising one already made:

we just can't foretell the future and in what way our data could become useful, even the data from us amateurs - so it is a no brainer that it needs to be preserved and there is no cause to question why we are doing it.

Also, if you enjoy doing something why would you want to question 'why am I doing this? - if you enjoy doing something, why stop?
Possibly a strange analogy, but sex maybe intended for the purposes of reproduction, but would you stop doing it just because you already had all the children you wanted?

Secondly - write a book.
"The weather of Maulds Meaburn from 2007 to 2015" - include all the significant events, averages, coldest/warmest/wettest, etc and provide copies foc to your library (Local studies section) and the Met'O archive.

My local studies section in all Cumbria libraries is stuff full of little booklets concerning the history of this, that and the other
Darren Rogers
Maulds Meaburn
Cumbria (Half way between Shap and Appleby)

http://www.mauldsmeaburnweather.co.uk
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Re: Data after Death

Postby Jeffrey Blackshaw » 2015 May 20, 07:25

The same question has been troubling me for some time now. I asked the question via a letter in the June 2012 edition of COL and there is a very long and and detailed reply from Stephen Burt which would be worth re-reading. For my own records I have left a note in my will of where copies should be sent with a donation - COL, TORRO etc and also to Coats Observatory in Paisley which are interested in a copy. Needless to say these places would only take it on a memory stick. The paper copy of my records stretching back 46 years comprises 2 lever arch files and these would be sent to the Chilterns Observatory Trust.

Jeff
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Re: Data after Death

Postby brugge » 2015 May 29, 19:58

This topic is quite an appropriate one as it is something that the committee
are trying to get to grips with. At the very least I would suggest that
a note be added to the paperwork of your will to the effect that
a home for instruments and observations might be found via COL - and maybe
mention myself, the Met Office or the Royal Met Soc as contacts who might be able
to then track down COL.

Certainly, it would be a great shame if any data or equipment was just binned,
equipment in particular as many of the thermometers that we currently use
may not be made in the future due to mercury-related issues.

Roger
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Re: Data after Death

Postby Graham Easterling » 2015 May 30, 18:40

Jeffrey says
The paper copy of my records stretching back 46 years comprises 2 lever arch files and these would be sent to the Chilterns Observatory Trust.

and Roger
Certainly, it would be a great shame if any data or equipment was just binned,
equipment in particular as many of the thermometers that we currently use
may not be made in the future due to mercury-related issues.


Bringing both these statements together, I managed to get a mercury thermometer from the Chilterns Observatory Trust, via Philip Eden. It really is a great resource. It's virtually impossible for individuals to buy new mercury thermometers now.

It seems a little strange to me that it's perfectly legal to drive along a motorway on a dark, wet foggy night, yet it's considered too dangerous to own a thermometer containing mercury.
Graham

Penzance Weather Station
Grid Ref:
SW464231 - Post Code: TR18 4TP
19m AMSL - Aspect SSE
In a SE - NW orientated valley

23 Years of Penzance Weather Records : http://penzanceweather.atspace.com/weather.html
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Re: Data after Death

Postby Mike Brown » 2015 May 31, 11:53

Did anybody mention Europe and mercury?? All of my mercury thermometers were obtained from Mr. Ebay, apart from the ones I am actually using which were obtained from a redundant weather station. As many know, not just they, but most of my other kit is also professional grade kit, from Mr. Ebay, and certainly has more than my lifetime left in them. I also have two or three spare Oregon stations, which are currently cluttering up the loft. So at the moment it is hard for me to envisage them going anywhere useful. Philip cannot accept them at the moment because of ongoing health difficulties. It would thus be good for COL to consider offering a home to written data, if only on a temporary basis. Equipment wise of course I suppose an ad in the COL journal would help, especially if I have advance notice of moving locations and measuring the weather higher up!!!
Much of the weather we measure is of course mundane, especially here in NW Lancashire, so may not be of interest to others today. Perhaps tomorrow it might be nice to remember the mundane though.
However, I also have a slight corollary to the original question, inasmuch as I have hundreds of weather and cloud photographs. The same question becomes applicable, does anyone want them other than me. Like many I do not take pictures of mundane clouds, as I am sure that there are enough pictures of Cu Hum around to sink a battleship. Is there mileage perhaps in starting a weather photo library, where they could be stored and possibly make a little bit of cash for someone, perhaps COL? That is a venture I might be able to help with although on a purely charitable basis.
Yet another thought!!

Mike
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Re: Data after Death

Postby Graham Easterling » 2015 May 31, 12:35

Did anybody mention Europe and mercury??


Well yes, I believe I did!

Like many I do not take pictures of mundane clouds, as I am sure that there are enough pictures of Cu Hum around to sink a battleship.


I take pictures of every cloud type, it's a bit of an obsession to cover every variety. I'm not sure that any cloud is necessarily mundane. A situation can make a cloud interesting, as in the attached pics.

Coastal mist in Cornwall is not exactly rare, but there are so many varieties it becomes interesting, it' just a matter of capturing the interest, not just the mist. In the 1st picture even the very low headland provides enough uplift to provide a narrow band of mist. The bottom picture is typical warm sector, incredibly mundane until you can capture the sharp base of the cloud. The shelter of Penlee point west of Newlyn, giving just enough protection to give a small mist free zone below 30m or so.

The other picture merely shows a common or garden Cu, but is actually taken from St Ives Bay (Gwithian) looking across the low area towards Mount's Bay, just 5 miles away, and marks the sea breeze convergence line.

Clouds always demonstrate something, it's trying to record the mechanisms as well as the cloud which helps makes the photos interesting.
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Last edited by Graham Easterling on 2015 May 31, 15:03, edited 1 time in total.
Graham

Penzance Weather Station
Grid Ref:
SW464231 - Post Code: TR18 4TP
19m AMSL - Aspect SSE
In a SE - NW orientated valley

23 Years of Penzance Weather Records : http://penzanceweather.atspace.com/weather.html
Graham Easterling
 
Posts: 316
Joined: 2011 Nov 30, 20:29
Location: Penzance, Cornwall

Re: Data after Death

Postby Mike Brown » 2015 May 31, 13:55

Perhaps my judgement was a little clouded when I mentioned the word mundane. Perhaps I should have said I try and take interesting pictures, which do of course include mundane clouds. Hopefully though you will see my point that the clouds or whatever have to show something of interest. Perhaps though the view today of being mundane or boring may not be so in the future. Could it be that other cloud types will form with our changing weather and climate patterns.The other problem I have is that my images are close to 40mb each so they do swallow up a lot of space, and being a retired photographer I tend to chuck out the ones that have no 'value'.
Still it leaves me with the problem of what to do with them in the event of death. Currently my instructions are to keep what is on one particular drive which I have set aside for the purpose, and format the rest before getting rid of the computers. The weather and cloud pictures are not on that drive.


Mike

PS the weather recordings are also on there for the moment
Mike Brown
 
Posts: 49
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