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
Raingauges should be exposed with the rim at the national standard height above ground – in the UK and Ireland, this is 30 cm; in the United States, between 3 and 4 feet (90 to 120 cm). Most countries define a ‘standard rim height’ as between 50 cm and 150 cm above ground. Take care to set the gauge rim level, and to maintain it accurately so.
Making weather measurements, particularly using an automatic weather station (AWS), can quickly generate vast amounts of data and these can become unmanageable without some thought being given to how records are to be kept and used.
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.
Pressure sensors must be located away from places that may experience sudden changes in temperature (direct sunshine, heating appliances or air conditioning outlets) or draughts, which will cause erroneous readings.
The most common measurements made are of sunshine duration, using a sunshine recorder, and global solar radiation on a horizontal surface, using a pyranometer. ‘Sunshine’ is defined in terms of the intensity of a perpendicular beam of solar radiation from the solar disk. The intensity of solar radiation is measured in Watts per square metre (W/m2), and daily totals in Megajoules per square metre (MJ/m2). Sunshine durations are measured in hours, or quoted as a percentage of the maximum possible duration.