This site provides useful practical information related to global and national weather observing practices and instruments, including independent equipment reviews.
You will find much of the background in my new book The Weather Observer’s Handbook (Cambridge University Press, 2012), details of which can also be found on this site, together with useful links and downloads.
Author, The Weather Observer’s Handbook
A nation obsessed with the weather? Yes, certainly, but which nation?
Tip of The Day
The calibration of all barometric pressure sensors, particularly electronic units, should be checked regularly to avoid calibration drift. More details are given in The Weather Observer's Handbook, Chapter 15.
Sheltered sites can introduce significant measurement errors, but with some care given to siting the screen and sensor/s reasonable air temperature measurements can be made in all but the most restricted locations. Temperature records from suburban sites, even those with limited exposures, can often provide more numerous and more representative climate records for a town or city than those from distant sites with near-perfect exposures.
The traditional method of measuring humidity is by using a pair of matched mercury-in-glass thermometers, known individually as dry-bulb and wet-bulb thermometers and in combination as a dry- and wet-bulb psychrometer. The wet-bulb is a thermometer whose bulb is kept permanently wet using a thin close-fitting cotton cap or sleeve. The wet-bulb is cooled by evaporation, and the difference in temperature between dry-bulb and wet-bulb thermometers is a measure of the humidity of the air. Using tables, an online calculator or formulae, the relative humidity (or any of the other humidity measures) can be quickly and easily determined from simultaneous readings of the two thermometers.
An automatic weather station (AWS) does not have to be the first rung on the weather measurement ladder. Short of funds? Not sure whether you’ll keep the records going and don’t want to spend a lot until you have given it a few months? Not sure where to start? Different options are explored in The Weather Observer’s Handbook.
All solar radiation instruments require an open exposure, one with as clear a horizon as possible: a flat rooftop or a mast are often suitable locations. The effects of obstructions can be assessed using a solar elevation diagram in conjunction with a site survey, although obstructions within about 3 degrees of the horizon have little effect on the record. The instruments must also be accurately levelled, and most also require some form of azimuth alignment and/or latitude setting. Never put yourself or others in danger when installing or maintaining meteorological instruments at height.