weather stations are all about measuring the world around us. They are essential instruments that can tell you a lot of things, depending on where it is located and what kind of weather station you have. Since they are often used for research purposes, sometimes not everyone knows their purpose or even how to use them. So this article aims at giving you an explanation of what weather stations measure.
A weather station (also called a weather instrument or meteorological station) is an instrument which constantly measures various atmospheric conditions. Weather stations are installed in many places around the world for use by meteorologists to observe weather conditions to help warn of hazardous weather conditions, and by climatologists to obtain data used to see how various weather conditions affect the climate. Many of these stations also have instruments measuring other parameters, such as sunshine duration or ultraviolet radiation, which are used as input to solar power models or skin cancer equations.
Weather Stations – What They Measure
There are several different categories of weather stations, depending on what is being measured; each station consists of at least a thermometer, a barometer and a hygrometer. In fact there are many other instruments included in weather stations such as rain gauges, wind speed recording devices, etc.
Weather Station Equipment
Instruments that measure the following parameters form the basic equipment of most weather stations:
(may be measured using a thermometer)
- Atmospheric pressure (may be measured using a barometer)
- Wind speed (recorded by anemometers, or more recently by acoustic Doppler velocimeters or lidars)
- Wind direction (recorded with wind vanes of cups that capture the wind and turn it into electricity, or with a wind vane anemometer)
- Relative humidity (recorded by a sling psychrometer or a capacitive sensor)
- Rainfall amount
(may be measured using tipping buckets, weighing gauges or by measuring the electrical conductivity of rain water with a tipping bucket raingauge)
- Solar radiation (recorded by pyranometers and sunshine recorders)
- Soil moisture (recorded using a neutron probe)
- Snow depth (recorded by a snow gauge or an ultrasonic snow depth sensor)
Weather Station Maintenance
Taking good care of the weather station equipment is important, since it ensures that readings are accurate. The instruments should be calibrated regularly to make sure that they are responding the same way. Also, the instruments should be kept clean because even tiny particles can obstruct sensors and affect their performance.
Weather Station Installation
It’s not only important to take good care of the equipment but also to install your weather station in a proper location. It needs to be at least 10 m above ground level, so that it is not affected by obstructions such as trees. If you are installing a weather station at an airport or on top of a tall building you should check the specifications to make sure the equipment can be installed there.
Weather Station Maintenance Checklist
The instruments need to be cleaned regularly because dust particles can obstruct sensors and affect their performance.
Instruments should be checked regularly to make sure they are responding correctly, as deviations can indicate malfunctions or damage of the equipment. This is especially important if the weather station system has been moved to a new place.