December 7

There’s a Weather Index For That!

We are all familiar with the direct impact weather conditions can have on our day-to-day lives. There are days where hanging out at the beach seems like a no-brainer. On the contrary, we have all experienced circumstances that prevented us from doing something as simple as driving to the supermarket.

As technologies have advanced we have been able to not only observe and report current conditions, but also accurately provide weather forecasts. To some degree, we can literally predict the future. But what if we took that one step further? What if we were able to forecast the potential for arthritis pain due to changes in the atmosphere? Or, what if I wanted to know how the atmospheric conditions may influence my round of golf this weekend? These questions are rhetorical, of course, because we CAN do this! I present to you the Aeris API Indices endpoint.

This unique endpoint provides an index to help you determine how common health concerns and outdoor activities may be impacted by the weather conditions.

Suffer from migraines? There’s an index for that.
Have a nagging cold? There’s an index for that.
Having friends over for a BBQ this weekend? There’s an index for that.

Here’s how it works. The two major categories in the Aeris API indices are health and activities, each having its own 1 to 5 scale to represent the index. The scale used for these groups is as follows:

indicesendpoints_chart

A higher index value for the health category indicates the potential for worsened symptoms. However, a higher index value for the activities category indicates the weather conditions are optimal for said activity.

Weather and Your Health

Let’s take the indices/arthritis endpoint for example. Studies have shown that dramatic changes in weather can result in an increase of arthritis pains for those who suffer. There are many components that contribute to this, such as changes in air pressure, dew point, precipitation, and even wind speed. We’ve created an algorithm that takes all these factors into consideration, along with their deviation from the norm, and produced an index which gives us insight as to how the weather might affect your arthritis.

Here is a sample query for the arthritis indices endpoint for the next 2 days in Pittsburgh, PA –

https://api.aerisapi.com/indices/arthritis/pittsburgh,pa?to=+2days&client_id=[client_id]&client_secret=[client_secret]

The first period’s forecast arthritis index is indicating an index of 4, or high. When you compare this with the actual weather forecast for the same day,

https://api.aerisapi.com/forecasts/pittsburgh,pa?to=+2days&client_id=[client_id]&client_secret=[client_secret]

the cause of increased arthritis pain becomes more evident: lower barometric pressure and cool, damp weather conditions. Studies have shown (http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/features/weather_and_pain#2) that increasing arthritis and joint pain is usually an indication of falling barometric pressure ahead of and during a storm. Then in periods two and three, forecast arthritis indices fall back down to 1, or minimal, on the scale which correlates to forecast higher barometric pressure (>30.00”) and fairer weather conditions.

Weather and Your Activities

Now let’s take that same logic and apply it to swimming. The algorithm for this indice is going to assume swimmers will enjoy themselves when it is warm outside and the water will comfortably cool them once submerged. Here is a sample query for the swimming indice for the next 2 days in Corpus Christi, TX –

https://api.aerisapi.com/indices/swimming/corpus+christi,tx?to=+2days&client_id=[client_id]&client_secret=[client_secret]

As you can see, the first periods forecast swimming index is 4, or very good. If you compare this index with Corpus Christi’s forecast conditions that day,

The “very good” index becomes abundantly clear. With the maxTempF in the mid 70s and the humidity in the low 90s, this should provide enough warmth for the swimmer to feel relatively comfortable as he/she gets in and out of the pool. Additionally, the probability of precipitation (“pop”) and cloud coverage (“sky”) being at 0% would be ideal for outdoor swimming. However, the next forecast period has an index of 2, or poor. When compared to the forecast, we see the max temperature drops to the mid 60s, cloud coverage is forecast at 72%, and the probability of precipitation increases to 25%. These factors compiled together would most certainly make poor swimming conditions.

Now that you know how the Aeris API Indices endpoint works, it’s time to utilize this data and give your users a unique perspective on their local weather conditions.

Get started with the Aeris Indices Endpoint!

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