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.
Dry- and wet-bulb thermometers can easily be replicated using electrical sensors, although small capacitative humidity sensors have largely replaced the traditional dry- and wet-bulb psychrometer. Modern sensors are small, economical on power, more reliable at temperatures below freezing and datalogger-friendly.
Site metadata statements are important because they provide the essential information for any other user of the records to understand more about the location and characteristics of weather records made at any site, thereby enabling more informed use of the data to be made.
Rooftops or masts may provide much better exposure for some sensors, but carefully consider the accessibility of the site before attempting to install the sensors. If the proposed site cannot be reached safely, fit appropriate safety measures or find another site. Do not take personal risks, or encourage others to do so, when attempting to install weather station sensors, particularly at height.
Generally speaking, the best exposure to the wind will be obtained by exposing both anemometer and wind vane in as open a position as possible, as high as possible, commensurate with both safety and accessibility for installation and maintenance. The necessarily elevated exposure will increase the vulnerability of the instruments to extreme weather conditions, particularly snow or ice, lightning and of course high winds. Great care should be taken in installation and cabling to minimize the potential for subsequent weather-related reliability issues.