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
AWS software provides three key functions – system setup and configuration, communication with and downloading of data from the datalogger, and the display of current and logged data. Most offer some form of data upload to Internet/website.
An automatic weather station (AWS) does not have to be the first rung on the weather measurement ladder. Short of funds? Not sure whether you’ll keep the records going and don’t want to spend a lot until you have given it a few months? Not sure where to start? Different options are explored in The Weather Observer’s Handbook.
Months or years of data can be lost in an instant if held in a single file on one hard disk. An entire lifetime’s manuscript record could just as easily be lost forever in a house fire or burglary. Taking simple steps, including putting in place a multiple backup strategy, can hugely improve the chances that records (and instruments) will survive to be used by future researchers.
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.
All solar radiation instruments require an open exposure, one with as clear a horizon as possible: a flat rooftop or a mast are often suitable locations. The effects of obstructions can be assessed using a solar elevation diagram in conjunction with a site survey, although obstructions within about 3 degrees of the horizon have little effect on the record. The instruments must also be accurately levelled, and most also require some form of azimuth alignment and/or latitude setting. Never put yourself or others in danger when installing or maintaining meteorological instruments at height.