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
Earth temperatures at 30 cm or deeper are measured using specially lagged thermometers hung on chains in steel tubes at the required depth, or using electrical sensors. Cabled sensors are ideally suited to measuring grass or earth temperatures, although care needs to be taken in how earth temperature sensors are exposed, as locating them in tubes with higher conductivity than the surrounding soil will introduce significant errors.
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.
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.
Most national weather services welcome and encourage the contribution of weather observations made by private individuals or organizations, as these provide a richer network of observing points to supplement the wider spacing of professional observing networks. For more than 120 years in the United States, the Cooperative Observer Program has proven itself as a cost-effective method in weather data collection, and currently administers about 11,000 observing sites. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology oversees in excess of 6,000 rainfall stations across the continent.
The calibration of all barometric pressure sensors, particularly electronic units, should be checked regularly to avoid calibration drift. More details are given in The Weather Observer's Handbook, Chapter 15.