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
Sheltered sites can introduce significant measurement errors, but with some care given to siting the screen and sensor/s reasonable air temperature measurements can be made in all but the most restricted locations. Temperature records from suburban sites, even those with limited exposures, can often provide more numerous and more representative climate records for a town or city than those from distant sites with near-perfect exposures.
Weather station specifications within The Weather Observer's Handbook are suggested within four very loose ‘user profiles’ – Starter, Hobbyist, Amateur and Professional – intended as a pragmatic starting point to what is practical and affordable within various budget and site restraints. As an example, with a limited budget it is probably better to concentrate on air temperature and rainfall observations: wind speed and direction (for instance) are more expensive to measure, and the site requirements are more complex. These and other elements can probably follow at a later stage as budgets (and perhaps an improved site) allow.
The wind is highly variable in both speed and direction, and obtaining good measurements of the wind poses particular challenges for instruments, logging equipment and site requirements.
Earth temperatures are most frequently measured at depths of 5, 10, 20, 30, 50 and 100 cm below ground level. Measurements at 30 cm or deeper are normally made under a grass surface, while the shallower depths are measured under a bare soil plot. Both should remain fully exposed to sunshine, wind and rainfall.
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.