Tracking weather

John Densem with the weather station on his house in Mosgiel. Photo by Linda Robertson.
John Densem with the weather station on his house in Mosgiel. Photo by Linda Robertson.
If you have ever wondered how much different the weather in Mosgiel or Fairfield is to Dunedin city, there is a way to find out.

John Densem, of Mosgiel, and Bruce van Essen, of Fairfield, both run amateur weather stations from their homes.

The stations are hooked up to the internet so anyone interested can have a look.

And they do - from people wondering what way the wind is blowing before they send up their battery-powered helicopters, to radio stations keeping their listeners informed of the suburbs' weather.

Mr Densem, who is retired, sought help from Mr van Essen to set up his station when he moved to East Taieri about 15 years ago.

''I've always had an interest in the weather. I did a lot of fishing out at sea.''

He records temperature, humidity, wind and rainfall from a station attached to a television aerial pole on his roof.

''It's all totally automated. It all goes on to the computer and is hooked up to the internet.''

It cost very little to do and he enjoyed doing it.

''I check it every morning and when I get home at night. A builder friend also uses it.''

When cold fronts came through it was fascinating to see the how quickly the temperature dropped, he said.

Mr van Essen, an ACC claimant, took over monitoring the weather from his father when he died about 10 years ago.

''My father always monitored the weather, writing in a diary the temperature and rain, so I bought him a unit as a present and set up the self-running system.

''I've kept it going in his honour.''

He had received good feedback over the years from ''people from all over'' who used the site.

He often checked Mr Densem's site to see what was ''happening on the other side of the hill''.

It was not an expensive or time-consuming hobby for anyone interested in weather, he said.

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