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
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.
Satisfactory site and sensor exposure are fundamental to obtaining representative weather observations. An open well-exposed site is the ideal, of course, but with planning and careful positioning of the instruments, good results can often be obtained from all but the most sheltered locations.
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.
Calibrations can drift over time, so calibrations should be checked (and adjusted if necessary) regularly – at least once every 6 months for pressure sensors, every 2 years for electronic temperature probes and every 5 years for liquid-in-glass thermometers.
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.