Open Data Shows Saint Lucia Is Getting Even Sunnier
Interpreting St. Lucia's Historic Weather Data
Among the datasets within Saint Lucia’s new Open Data library are weather observations for the last 44 years (Link to Dataset). Weather observations are good time-series data that can show the graphing capabilities of the Open Data site to best effect.
Selecting the monthly sunshine totals (Link to Dataset), simply clicking “graph”, and then selecting “Lines and Points” for graph type, “Year” for Axis 1 (X-axis) and “December” for Axis 2 (Y-axis) gives a pleasing graph (Link to Data Preview). This shows a clear upward drift in the number of sunshine hours in December – although there is still a lot of yearly variation.
December Sunshine Totals
December Sunshine Totals Smoothed
The last chart reveals that there was a significant increase in average sunshine hours in the late 1980s and early 1990s, but that since then the average number of hours has been about the same.
The Open Data portal also has data on temperature, located at http://data.govt.lc/dataset/historical-weather-observations-hewanorra.
You can again analyse this online, or download it to analyse with your own tools. This data also shows that there was a rise in mean December temperature by around 1.5C from the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s, and that it has been around the same since then.
With an average of 10 hours of sunshine a day and mean temperatures of 27 degrees Celsius, in Saint Lucia you can leave your Christmas sweater in the closet!
Download and Analyze St. Lucia Data
The new Open Data site also allows you to download the data to analyse it further. The download gives a CSV file that you can feed directly into your own program, or into an application like Excel. After previewing the historic weather data, we computed ten-year rolling averages for December sunshine and plotted them.