What is a Weather API?

A weather API is an Application Programming Interface that allows weather data to be queried from scripts and code. Good weather APIs provide both historical weather data and forecast data via an easy-to-use, well-defined programming interface. The best APIs have dozens of weather measures, near-real-time current conditions reporting, and decades of worldwide historical weather reports. Ideally both historical and forecast look-ups would be combined into the same API entry point with the addition of an ultra-long-range forecast based on climate statistics. This single entry point makes it easy for anyone writing a script, coding and app, or loading a database to get instant access to the exact weather data that they need from a global database containing hundreds of millions of records. Of course, the pricing for this API should be cheap enough that anyone can get access and initial users should be able to start their weather project entirely for free.

Why use a weather API

A weather API is ideally suited for use cases that need large volumes of weather data or need to access weather data in an automated way. For example, if you want to make a script that loads weather data into a corporate data warehouse to match against historical sales metrics, using a weather API in your ETL script is the perfect solution. If you are creating an app that needs to combine user activity and weather conditions at the time of that activity, a weather API allows you to retrieve that exact weather conditions at any given time and location directly in your code. If you are planning the inventory, marketing, and staffing levels at your small business locations, a weather API can be used from within Excel or Google Sheets so than you can dynamically adapt your business based on the forecast conditions and how they apply in your specific case.

The use cases for a weather API are only limited by your business needs and imagination. There are thousands of ways to use weather data ranging from solar energy production to shipping to vacation planning. And the power of a weather API means that you can use code or script to automate these tasks easily for your business, organization, or hobby.

How to find a high-quality weather API

A weather API is only as good as the data an infrastructure behind it. Visual Crossing Weather offers global historical weather reports over more than the last 50 years. It also provides worldwide 16-day forecasts from the best forecasting models. If your use case requires an even longer-term view, statistical forecasts can take decades of raw historical data and calculate the normal and extreme weather predictions for any day of the year at any point on Earth.

Visual Crossing Weather provides not only common weather measures such as temperature, precipitation, and wind data but also less common measures including solar energy, snow depth, and precipitation coverage. These can be retrieved in CSV or JSON format using an industry-standard RESTful, URL API.

The weather API is embeddable in any scripting or coding language including JavaScript, Python, Java, and even usable from the command line. In addition, anyone can get started using the API for free. Paid usage starts at only $0.0001 per record with no minimum while monthly access plans start at $35 per month. This means that anyone can get 1000 records per day for free and hundreds of thousands of records for only a few dollars. And the entire system is built on a highly scalable Amazon Web Services infrastructure that can scale from the smallest home personal home automation use case to the largest consumer websites and any business application.