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
A once-daily ‘morning observation’ is the best time to read/reset any manual instruments in use, as well as perform visual checks on the operation of the sensors for an automatic weather station AWS, particularly raingauge funnels which are likely to become blocked if left unchecked. A manual observation also provides a convenient opportunity to note current weather details such as the amount and types of cloud, the surface visibility, present weather, the occurrence of lying snow, and so on.
Wind is a vector quantity – it has both direction and speed. Wind direction refers to where the wind is coming from. A wind vane needs to be accurately aligned to true north, which is slightly different to the magnetic north shown by a magnetic compass.
The wind is highly variable in both speed and direction, and obtaining good measurements of the wind poses particular challenges for instruments, logging equipment and site requirements.
Before spending money on an automatic weather station (AWS) - consider firstly whether the site where the instruments will be used is suitable. There is little point in spending large sums on a sophisticated and flexible AWS if the location where it will be used is poorly exposed to the weather it seeks to measure. In general a budget AWS exposed in a good location will give more representative results than a poorly exposed top-of-the-range system. Worthwhile observations can be made with budget instruments in limited exposures, but a very sheltered site may not justify a significant investment in precision instruments, as the site characteristics may limit the accuracy and representativeness of the readings obtained.
Dry- and wet-bulb thermometers can easily be replicated using electrical sensors, although small capacitative humidity sensors have largely replaced the traditional dry- and wet-bulb psychrometer. Modern sensors are small, economical on power, more reliable at temperatures below freezing and datalogger-friendly.