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
Voluntary observers provide the backbone of most countries observing networks, and tend to do so for many years. There are examples within the UK and the United States of a few individuals completing 70 years or more of high-quality weather records. Without doubt, the longer the record, the more interesting it becomes to look back upon notable events.
‘Humidity’ refers to the amount of water vapour in the air, a vital component of the weather machine. Various measures are used to quantify the amount of atmospheric water vapour – relative humidity and dew point being the two most commonly used. Knowledge of any two values can derive other humidity parameters. The amount of water vapour that the air can hold varies significantly with temperature – saturated air at 0 °C holds only a quarter of the amount that saturated air at 20 °C can hold.
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.
Satisfactory site and sensor exposure are fundamental to obtaining representative weather observations. An open well-exposed site is the ideal, of course, but with planning and careful positioning of the instruments, good results can often be obtained from all but the most sheltered locations.
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.