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
The units of atmospheric pressure are hectopascals (hPa) – a hectopascal is numerically identical to the more familiar millibar. Inches of mercury are still used for some public weather communications within the United States – one inch of mercury is 33.86 hPa.
Rooftops or masts may provide much better exposure for some sensors, but carefully consider the accessibility of the site before attempting to install the sensors. If the proposed site cannot be reached safely, fit appropriate safety measures or find another site. Do not take personal risks, or encourage others to do so, when attempting to install weather station sensors, particularly at height.
‘Precipitation’ measurements include rain, drizzle, snow, sleet, hail and the like as well as the occasional minor contribution from dew, frost or fog. Precipitation is highly variable in both space and time, and precipitation measurement networks are usually denser than for other elements to improve spatial coverage. There may be as many as 1 million raingauges operating globally, although standards vary from country to country.
Sharing real-time weather information from a digital weather station over the Internet via a site-specific website, or submitting the output automatically to one or more data aggregation sites, the largest of which store and display observations from thousands of locations across the world, can help build a clearer picture of weather conditions within a town, city or country, help pin down the tracks of showers or thunderstorms, or map an urban heat island.
With a relatively dense network of reporting locations in populated areas, together with a fast update/refresh rate, highly detailed mesoscale displays of current weather conditions are instantly available on the web, even on portable devices such as smartphones.
A once-daily ‘morning observation’ is the best time to read/reset any manual instruments in use, as well as perform visual checks on the operation of the sensors for an automatic weather station AWS, particularly raingauge funnels which are likely to become blocked if left unchecked. A manual observation also provides a convenient opportunity to note current weather details such as the amount and types of cloud, the surface visibility, present weather, the occurrence of lying snow, and so on.