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
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.
Most air temperature measurements are now made using resistance temperature devices (RTDs), which are steadily replacing liquid-in-glass thermometers. The main types of sensor in use today are the platinum resistance thermometer and the thermistor. The former is more accurate and more repeatable, but more expensive. Both can be made very small and thus highly responsive.
Grass temperatures should be sampled and logged at the same interval as used for air temperatures; for earth temperatures, particularly at depth, an hourly or even once-daily logging interval may be sufficient.
Agreeing to provide observations to a state meteorological service requires minimum standards of site, exposure and instrumentation, but the controlling agency may provide the instruments on a free loan basis where the observing site fills a gap in the network. For observers collecting data for a state meteorological agency, they also have the benefit of knowing their observations become a part of the nations’ permanent weather archive.
Snowfall is difficult to measure accurately with most types of raingauge, and without some form of wind shield most raingauges will lose 50 per cent or more of the ‘true’ catch through wind errors introduced by the presence of the gauge, which interferes with the flow of the wind over it, causing a loss of some of the catch.