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 book The Weather Observer’s Handbook (published by Cambridge University Press), 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
Most national weather services welcome and encourage the contribution of weather observations made by private individuals or organizations, as these provide a richer network of observing points to supplement the wider spacing of professional observing networks. For more than 120 years in the United States, the Cooperative Observer Program has proven itself as a cost-effective method in weather data collection, and currently administers about 11,000 observing sites. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology oversees in excess of 6,000 rainfall stations across the continent.
Current local records can often be augmented and compared with historical records from the national climate archives. In many countries, online access and downloads are free or available at a nominal charge.
Traditional louvred screens can accommodate both traditional liquid-in-glass thermometers and small electronic sensors, but small AWS radiation shields can be used only with electronic sensors. Aspirated units currently provide the best estimate of true air temperature (they are highly responsive and largely free of influence from the screen itself), but they provide a slightly different temperature record from other standard methods. Next-generation climate monitoring networks are increasingly using aspirated methods of measuring air temperature.
Instrument calibrations are one of the most important, yet also one of the most neglected, areas of weather measurement. Making accurate weather measurements requires accurately calibrated instruments.
Barometric pressure is the easiest of all of the weather elements to measure, and even basic weather stations or household aneroid barometers can provide reasonably accurate readings. It is also the only weather element that can be observed indoors, making a barometer or barograph – analogue or digital – an ideal instrument for apartment dwellers.