By Janet Wagner
Weather impacts nearly every area of our lives – Weather conditions such as fog, rain, and snow impact commutes to work and travels to places in other parts of the world. Weather impacts our health as it has a direct effect on the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat. Weather impacts our safety as severe weather such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods often cause sudden mass destruction to homes, buildings, and other infrastructure.
Thanks to satellites, radar, remote sensors, and other weather monitoring technologies, we now have a better understanding of weather conditions and phenomena. Thanks to APIs and smartphones with built-in GPS, we have access to mobile applications that provide hour-by-hour forecasts, severe weather alerts, and other relevant weather information for just about every place we go.
This blog post highlights several APIs developers could use to build innovative web and mobile weather applications.
AccuWeather currently provides a set of nine weather APIs which includes a Forecast API, Current Conditions API, Alerts API, and Imagery API. The AccuWeather API delivers detailed current, historical, and forecasted weather information for locations all over the world. Developers could build a wide range of innovative and engaging weather data-powered applications using AccuWeather. There is even an Indices API that provides flight delays, mosquito activity, stargazing, and dozens of other daily index values for a specific location.
The API documentation is nicely designed, comprehensive, and includes interactive documentation to try out API endpoints and see the responses. The free trial and paid plans include current conditions, 24-hour historical current conditions, forecasts, and indices. The paid packages vary when it comes to the forecast in days/hours as well as indices, alerts, imagery, and other advanced weather features. An enterprise solution is available which provides historical weather data going back 60 years.
The Dark Sky API currently provides global weather information including current conditions, forecasts, historical data, and severe weather alerts. Developers have two basic API requests to choose from, Forecast and Time Machine. The Forecast Request returns the current weather forecast for the next week, and the Time Machine Request returns weather conditions (observed or forecast) for a given date (past or future). In some locations, historical weather data goes back 100 years. The API doesn’t come with any weather icons so that developers can use third-party icons or their own custom icons.
The one-page documentation is detailed, easy to follow, and includes several example requests in JSON. Developers can also find many unofficial Dark Sky API wrapper libraries on GitHub. The API pricing is very simple; the first 1,000 API calls per day are free. After that, calls are $0.0001 each. Enterprise volume discount pricing is also available at this time.
The OpenWeatherMap API currently provides a wide variety of weather data including (but not limited to) current weather, forecasts, historical, weather stations, and weather alerts. The API also provides current and historical air pollution data such as carbon monoxide (CO), ozone (O3), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). This feature is currently in beta and air pollution historical information goes back to November 2015.
The API documentation is comprehensive, easy to follow, and includes many examples of API requests and the responses returned. Numerous unofficial OpenWeatherMap API client libraries and wrappers are available on GitHub. There is a free plan and paid plans for the current weather and forecasts data collection. Historical weather data is only available in separate paid plans. Depending on which plan you choose, historical weather data goes back one month, one year, or five years.
Which Weather API is the Best One for Your App?
While much of the weather data provided by these APIs are similar, there are differences in the days and time formats for weather forecasts, the number of years back for historical data, and the types of weather information provided.
All of the weather APIs highlighted in this post have a limited free plan available so that developers can try them out, which is the best way to see which weather API is the best one for your application.
Check out some of the other Weather APIs listed on RapidAPI.