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
The choice of datalogger and automatic weather station (AWS) software is crucial to the effective operation of any AWS. Its specification will define the capabilities (or limitations) of the AWS, and the choice of unit should be given at least as much consideration as the choice of sensors.
The majority of AWS owners opt for a third-party AWS software package over the manufacturer’s offering. Five leading packages account for more than four in five of AWSs surveyed in the United States, the United Kingdom and Ireland, although there are also others available. There is no ‘best’ solution, all packages have pros and cons, and the choice is largely one of personal preference. Most of the leading software is available on a ‘try before you buy’ basis, and it is best to ‘try before you buy’.
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.
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.
A good exposure for one sensor can be the exact opposite for another. For representative wind speed and direction readings, for example, an anemometer mounted on top of a tall mast in a very open expanse is ideal, but this would be a poor exposure for a raingauge owing to wind effects. No single exposure will provide a perfect fit for the requirements of all sensors.