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
Wind direction and speed are normally measured using separate instruments, most often a cup anemometer and a potentiometer-based wind vane. The absolute accuracy of wind speed measurements is more likely to be limited by the height and exposure of the anemometer, rather than the accuracy of the sensor. The accuracy of wind direction measurements depends more upon careful alignment at installation.
Choosing a weather station. There are many different varieties of automatic weather stations (AWSs) available, and a huge range of different applications for them. To ensure any specific system satisfies any particular requirement, consider carefully, in advance of purchase, what are the main purposes for which it will be used, then consider and prioritize the features and benefits of suitable systems to choose the best solution from those available. Examples are given in The Weather Observer's Handbook.
Temperature is one of the most important meteorological quantities, but it is also one most easily influenced by the exposure of the thermometer. Great care needs to be taken in exposing air temperature sensors to ensure that, as far as possible, the instrument measures a true and representative value, which is not unduly influenced by the instrument housing, surrounding vegetation or ground cover, the presence of buildings or other objects. Certain locations, such as hollows or rooftop sites, are best avoided, as readings obtained in these situations may bear little comparison to observations made elsewhere under standard conditions.
To measure grass temperatures, a spirit-based minimum thermometer or an automatic weather station (AWS) or dedicated logger with inputs for a trailing-lead electrical sensor (thermistor or platinum resistance thermometer) is required. Entry-level and budget AWSs generally do not include suitable additional sensors or ‘spare’ sensor ports. A sensitive yet robust sensor is required to measure grass minimum temperatures, as it will be exposed to all extremes of weather.
Weather knows no boundaries. The inherent interest in taking weather observations are greatly enhanced by exchanging and comparing observations with others locally, nationally or internationally.