Website Search Help

Using this website to make searches is the easiest way to access the Weatherlogics Climate Database (WCD). Under the "Search" menu you can select three different types of climate information: data, records, and normals. Below is a description about how to use the search forms to access climate data.

First steps

The first thing to consider when making a search is what type of data you are looking for. If you’re unsure about which data is right for you, take a look at the about page to read about the differences between data, records, and normals.

Once you’ve selected the appropriate type of data, you must next consider what information you’re looking for. The most important considerations are the location and date(s). All queries require a location and date, but some queries require additional information. In general, data and normals queries are the easiest, while records queries are the most complex.

In the following sections we describe the meaning of all query options. At the end are some example queries to help visualize the options.

Locations

Every type of query starts by specifying a location. The location is the weather station where data is being retrieved from. There are two primary types of stations: airports and climate stations. In general, airports are weather stations operated by Nav Canada (NC), while climate stations are operated by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC). There are a number of technical differences between airport and climate stations, which we will not get into here. While most stations are operated by NC or ECCC, some stations are operated by other agencies. For most users, the differences between airports and climate stations are not important. However, if you require technical specifications or more information about specific stations, please contact us.

The various different agencies operating weather stations in Canada, and technical differences between them, can become quite confusing. Luckily, the WCD takes care of many of these confusing issues. As a user, you should select a station by asking two simple questions:

  • How many years of data do I require?
  • Does the station represent the region I'm interested in?

As an example, let's assume you require as much data as possible for Toronto, Ontario. Commonly, Toronto Pearson Airport is used as the reference weather station for Toronto. Data at Toronto Pearson extends from 1872-2019 (it has been joined with Brampton), However, Toronto City has data from 1840-2019. In addition, Toronto City is located in the City of Toronto, while Toronto Pearson is located in Mississauga. While it is common to see Toronto Pearson used to represent Toronto's climate, it is neither in the city, nor does it have the longest period of record. Therefore, Toronto City is a better choice in this situation.

In another example, maybe you require climate records for Winnipeg. A keen observer would note that Winnipeg has two stations: The Airport and The Forks. Winnipeg Airport's climate records go from 1938-2019. However, our climate database lists observations at Winnipeg Airport from 1872-2019. This is because all stations in the Weatherlogics database have already been joined automatically. In the case of Winnipeg Airport, the older St. John's College station was joined (see methods ) with the airport to complete the climate records from 1872-2019. This is perhaps the most significant advantage of this database - all stations are complete, with histories as long as possible. Conversely, The Forks only extends from 1999-2019. Therefore, it is advisable to use Winnipeg Airport when representing Winnipeg’s climate in most cases.

To find the best location for your use, visit the locations page for a complete map.

Time type

Time type refers to how the original data was recorded. In many cases this is obvious. For example, the maximum temperature on a given day is recorded daily. Whereas the total precipitation for a month is recorded monthly. In other cases this is less obvious. For example, air temperature and dewpoint temperature are only recorded hourly. If you wanted all the air temperature readings for a specific day, you would need to select the hourly time type, not daily.

Time type is especially important for making records queries. If you want to know what the highest ever dewpoint was on September 18, it might seem like you'd want to set time type as daily, since you're looking for a daily record. However, time type refers to variable being searched, not the date. In this case, to get the record high dewpoint on September 18, you'd choose time type as hourly since dewpoint is an hourly variable. We have a table with all available variables and their corresponding time types on the metadata page.

Start and end dates

Start date and end date are variables for data and normals queries. In data this is a full date, but in normals this is only a year. When used in data, you select a date range to retrieve data. In normals you use to calculate normals.

To retrieve all data from Regina, SK from March 1 to May 16, 1980, you’d specify March 1, 1980 as the start date and May 16, 1980 as the end date.

To calculate normals in Kelowna, BC from 1956 to 1980, you’d specify 1956 as the start year and 1980 as the end year.

Record type, days, and months

Record type is only an option with records searches. It specifies whether the record is for a day, month, year, all, or custom. This refers to the date, rather than the variable. For example, if the record type is set to day, it will find a record for a given day. If the record type is set as month, the query will find a record within a given month. For example, to find the highest maximum temperature ever recorded in July, record type would be set to month. Conversely, for the highest maximum temperature recorded on July 15, the recordtype would be day. Let’s assume the record returned for the former (month) example is 41 C on July 15, 1956. If the time type was set as day, and the date was given as July 15, the result would be the same. However, if we set the date to July 14, with record type as day, the result would be different.

The two other recordtype options are all and custom. The all option is simple, it is records for all time. For example, if you wanted to know the wettest month of all time in Vancouver, you'd set recordtype to all and not specify anything else. If you set recordtype to custom, you can look for a specific time frame. In the next paragraph, you'll find an example about how custom records work.

As noted above, to specify the date to search for the record, you will use the days and months query options. For example, to get the monthly maximum temperature in July, set months=7. To get the daily maximum temperature record for July 14, set days=14 and months=7. If recordtype is all, you do not need to specify days or months. However, for custom recordtypes, you must specify a range in both days and months. For example, to get the warmest temperature in Edmonton in the first 15 days of January, set months=1,1 and days=1,15. The first number in months is the first month of the search range and the second number is the last month of the range. For the days parameter, again the first value is the start of the search range and the second day is the end of the range. If recordtype is custom, days and months can be set to anything. You could set months=1,6 and days=1,30 to search teh first half of the year, or months=6,8 and days=1,31 to search only in June, July, and August. For more information about how to set custom searches, check the examples below or the API docs examples.

Rank, Metric, Data type

These three variables are only used for records queries and are all related. Metric specifies whether you are querying for a max, min, or avg record. Data type is the variable to search, and rank is the number of values to return below the record. As an example, let’s assume metric was set to max, data type was set to max temperature, and rank was set to 5. This would return the highest maximum temperature on the given date and also return the next 4 highest max temperatures on that date.

If metric was changed to min in the above example, it would instead return the 5 lowest maximum temperatures on the given date (coldest daytime highs).

Examples

Data

Retrieve daily data from Edmonton International Airport from May 1, 2019 to May 22, 2019.

Edmonton daily data query example.

Records

Return the top-5 months of all time with the highest mean max temperature at Dryden Airport.

Dryden daily records query example.

Return the highest dewpoint temperature at Milk River Climate on July 24.

Milk River hourly records query example.

Return the top-5 highest wind gusts at Port Hardy Airport in the months of January, February, and March between 2000 and 2010

Port Hardy monthly records query example.

Normals

Return monthly normals for Collingwood Climate from 1961 to 1990.

Collingwood monthly normals query example.