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
Barometric pressure is the easiest of all of the weather elements to measure, and even basic weather stations or household aneroid barometers can provide reasonably accurate readings. It is also the only weather element that can be observed indoors, making a barometer or barograph – analogue or digital – an ideal instrument for apartment dwellers.
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.
Most air temperature measurements are now made using resistance temperature devices (RTDs), which are steadily replacing liquid-in-glass thermometers. The main types of sensor in use today are the platinum resistance thermometer and the thermistor. The former is more accurate and more repeatable, but more expensive. Both can be made very small and thus highly responsive.
When choosing a weather station, or components of a weather station, decide firstly what the equipment will mainly be used for: some potential uses may not be immediately obvious. Once that is clear, review the relevant decision-making factors as outlined in The Weather Observer's Handbook, Chapter 2, then prioritize them against your requirements.
The preferred resolution of a recording raingauge is 0.1 or 0.2 mm; 1 mm tipping-bucket raingauges are too coarse for accurate measurements of small daily amounts. Recording raingauges should be logged at 1 minute or 5 minute resolution (higher frequencies are possible using an event-based logger). They should be regularly inspected for funnel blockage or any obstruction to the operating mechanism, which will result in the complete loss of useful record if not quickly corrected.