The Alberta Hail Project Meteorological and Barge-Humphries Radar Archive

Between 1957 and 1991 the Alberta Research Council collected a significant amount of meteorological data in Central Alberta. This research involved the collection of information about hail and rainfall; data collected as a result of cloud seeding experiments; and a variety of radar data collected via airplane and ground radar centres.

In the 1990's, the data was identified as being at risk of becoming unusable. The University of Alberta Libraries embarked on a project to preserve and archive the information. This involved the retrieval of all primary and supporting data sources, which required transferring digital information from magnetic tape to CD-ROM. The data rescue effort and all the supporting data and materials were comprehensively documented, becoming an earlier version of this web archive: the Alberta Hail Project Meteorological and Barge-Humphries Radar Archive.

In 2015, the CD-ROMs holding the raw data were nearing the end of their stable lifespan, and the server hosting the web archive was being decommissioned. This led to a data re-rescue project. The data on the CD-ROMs, along with the supporting data (including this web archive) was uploaded to the University of Alberta Libraries Dataverse. The Dataverse is a stable repository that uses DDI metadata standards and assigns digital object identifiers (DOI) to datasets. It also supports long-term archival preservation via the LOCKSS network. While the web archive is available for download from Dataverse, it has been uploaded to Google Sites so it can remain discoverable on the internet. This webpage has been created with HTML from the original web archive in order to maintain the original 'look and feel' of the site. It can be accessed via the 'Table of Contents' link on the left navigation panel.

The full archive of primary and supporting data for this project is available for download from the University of Alberta Libraries Dataverse.

Alberta Research Council, 1995, "The Alberta Hail Project Meteorological and Barge-Humphries Radar Archive", UNF:5:vmA2Nsena81SculonaGEiw== Data Library [Distributor] V9 [Version]

The data has been made available for the purpose of secondary analysis. In this context, secondary data refers to datasets that are collected by someone other than the person doing the research (Boslaugh, "Secondary Data Sources for Public Health" 1; Vartanian, "Secondary Data Analysis" n.p.). Even though the dataset itself is the same, when it is used by someone with no connection to the original research team, it is referred to as secondary data. Secondary analysis is the product of research that results from the secondary data.

The link below points to a small project that used the geographical information in the secondary data to visualize the size and location of hail fall in Central Alberta, based on the submitted weather reports from farmers spanning a 30-year period. 

The Python code used to parse the data is available for inspection and re-use on GitHub.

A history of the data rescue and the resulting secondary analysis was presented at the North American Data Documentation Initiative Conference (NADDI). The slide deck from the presentation is available at the link below.

Schwab, S., Laliberte, L., Bombak, A. "Hail Data! A Data Preservation Saga." (presentation, North American Data Documentation Initiative Conference, Edmonton, AB, April 7 - 8, 2016).

The original data rescue resulted in the publications below.  An paper on the project based on the "Hail Data!" conference presentation is forthcoming.

Kochtubajda, B., C. Humphrey, and M. Johnson. "Data Rescue: experiences from the Alberta Hail Project." IASSIST Quarterly Fall/Winter (1994): 9-15.

Kochtubajda, B., C. Humphrey, M. Johnson and E.P. Lozowksi. "Alberta Hail Project Data Archive Available On The World Wide Web." Bulletin Of The American Meteorological Society 3 (1996): 564-567.

The original web archive included a link to a webpage with research on the history of the Edmonton Tornado and Hailstorm. That webpage has also been saved and uploaded to Google Sites at the link below.