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
Recording raingauges can be easily and accurately calibrated by passing a known volume of water through the gauge, and comparing with the indicated measurement. ‘Out of the box’ errors for some AWS tipping-bucket raingauges of this type can exceed 20 per cent, so this is a vital test for all new instruments at first installation. Recording raingauges should not be adjusted merely to attempt exact agreement, or near-agreement, with a standard raingauge, because instrumental and exposure differences inevitably lead to slight variations in the amount of rainfall recorded.
Instrumental readings are of course vital in making observations of the weather, but for a complete picture non-instrumental and ‘narrative’ weather observations are equally important, especially for the analysis of severe weather events.
Calibrations can drift over time, so calibrations should be checked (and adjusted if necessary) regularly – at least once every 6 months for pressure sensors, every 2 years for electronic temperature probes and every 5 years for liquid-in-glass thermometers.
Mean wind speeds normally refer to 10 minute periods, gust speeds to 3 seconds. For accurate determination of gust speeds, a high sampling interval (no more than a few seconds) is essential, although the logging interval can be much longer than this.
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.