Oh, Weather! That’s the last thing we worry until it hits us hard. Weather prediction is one of the most complex problems to solve. There are umpteen parameters to track, and their permutations and combinations can lead to thousands of possible outcomes. Thankfully, there are APIs that abstract away all that complexity behind the scenes.
Dark Sky Weather API is an easy to use weather API to get instant weather predictions. It supports both current and historical predictions. Dark Sky Weather API is integrated with Rakuten RapidAPI. You can directly invoke the weather API from within the API console once you log on to your Rakuten RapidAPI account.
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Overview of Dark Sky Weather API
Let’s now see a Dark Sky API example. Access the Dark Sky Weather API console, and you will see the endpoints.
There are two endpoints supported by this API.
The “Forecast” endpoint fetches the latest weather prediction for a given geographical location pointed by a latitude and longitude coordinate.
Let’s find out the current prediction for New York. The approximate coordinates of New York is 40.7 (latitude) and -74 (longitude).
After triggering the API, here is the format in which you will get the result.
Dark Sky Weather API response contains the prediction for November 17, 2019, 03: 58 AM (GMT). If you call this API on some other day, then the values will change. From a layman’s point of view, you can see that the data contains the usual weather condition indicators such as temperature, pressure, wind speed, etc.
Dark Sky Weather API also returns a prediction for the upcoming hour and the day.
Note that the timestamp for this prediction response is in the Unix time format. That means the value ‘1573963131’ for ‘currently’ > ‘time’ key translates to Sunday, November 17, 2019, 3:58:51 AM (GMT).
GET Time Machine
This “Time Machine” endpoint is similar to the “Forecast” endpoint. Apart from the latitude and longitude, it accepts a timestamp in the past and retrieves the historical prediction.
In this case, Dark Sky Weather API retrieves the weather information of New York on Friday, November 1, 2019, at 4:10:36 AM. The value ‘1572581436’ for the ‘time’ parameter translates to this time.
Both the endpoints support optional parameters to finetune the prediction responses from the Dark Sky Weather API.
The ‘lang’ parameters returns the data in your preferred language. You can check out the supported languages under the “API Details” tab.
The ‘extend’ parameter is used to return extended results for the interval forecasts. In the case of a value ‘hourly’, the API returns the forecast with extended prediction for the next 168 hours (7 days).
This parameter is not available for the “Time Machine” endpoint.
The ‘units’ parameter is used to select a specific unit for the weather parameters. The “API Details” tab has more information on the supported units and their interpretation in the returned response of the API.
Finally, the ‘exclude’ parameter is used to omit one of the data blocks from the API response, either “currently,” “minutely,” “hourly,” or “daily.” It also accepts a comma-delimited string containing more than one data block.
Historical Weather Data API
Dark Sky offers Historical Weather Data API. The “GET Time Machine” REST API method returns the observed hour-by-hour weather and daily weather condition for a particular date. The API returns weather data such as temperature, cloud cover, humidity, precipitation (rainfall), wind speed etc.
The Dark Sky Weather API gives you 100 free API calls per month. Subscribe to the BASIC plan to test the endpoints as shown above.
Top Four Applications of Weather APIs
Let’s now see some real world weather API examples. These are not specifically Dark Sky Weather API examples but all the examples given below use one or the other weather API.
1. News Apps
All news channels cover weather conditions as part of their daily news broadcast. Their apps also have a separate tab for displaying weather data. Using a hosted weather API service like Dark Sky Weather API, mobile apps can easily retrieve and display weather information from the JSON data of API response.
Fox News App
2. Travel Apps
Weather updates are a must-have for travel planning apps. Be it a family vacation, road trip, or a hiking expedition. It’s always safe to be aware of the impending weather conditions and be prepared for it.
Highway Weather App
3. Agriculture Apps
If you think you should worry about the weather only while going outdoors, then think again. Agriculture, which forms the genesis of human civilization, is the most weather dependent activity. Farmers and agriculturalists are always looking for favorable weather to plan their cultivation. However, their weather woes also extend to protecting the standing crops. Therefore, several companies have developed apps that integrate weather-based predictions and alerts for farmers. These apps also help the farmers in several other ways, such as improved operational planning with highly specific, farm-level forecasts.
Ag Weather App
4. Weather Apps
And finally, you have standalone weather apps too. These are use case agnostic apps that provide weather data. Be it for gathering news, planning for a trip, or using the data as an agricultural input, the all-purpose weather apps are your best friend.
Time To Develop Your Unique Weather App
There is an emerging field of weather prediction that leverages machine learning. Machine learning is all about finding patterns and predicting them, and the weather is a perfect example of that due to its cyclical phenomena governed by seasons. Due to the climate crisis, every year, the weather parameters show a shift in their values. For instance, global warming is causing the summers to get hotter and hotter every year. By capturing such patterns over a range of historical dates, it is possible to predict specific weather conditions in advance that might have an adverse effect on our lives.
Traditionally, the weather prediction is done based on the data gathered from sensors installed on weather stations. More accurate predictions can be performed by incorporating machine learning.
The Dark Sky Weather API is well suited for these kinds of applications since it provides weather data for current and historical dates. It also covers all the requirements for the types of apps described above.
So what are you waiting for? Get into your coding mojos and build that awesome weather app you have envisioned in your mind.