Have you ever wondered what kind of weather equipment we use for observations? What kind you can get?
Suppose you were looking on-line to buy weather stations, accessories for professional weather stations, such as the Stevenson Screen shown here, or maybe one of the many types of home weather stations that have recently become available.
If you're needing supplemental information about these items and the instruments typically contained in each set-up, follow the article on this page and the links in each section. Also, clicking the blue text above will take you to an introduction to how weather equipment might be used in environmental regulatory compliance consulting and research.
Here is a brief description of the more common instruments and supplies. You are probably already familiar with some of these.
Air pressure is force per unit area, given in units such as pounds per square inch. Every square inch. People who get barometric pressure headaches get a pretty good idea of which effects small pressure changes can create. Because every inch of their bodies is affected equally by these changes.
Other pressure sensors, such as
barometric pressure transducers,
exhibit the same sensitivity.
Everyone knows what temperature is, right? That is the degree of hotness or coldness you feel.
Temperature recording weather equipment objectively stores these numbers for us. Examples of this type of weather equipment include dataloggers and computers.
It's the amount of vaporized water in the air.
The most well-known way of expressing humidity is by using relative humidity. Learn about other humidity-related quantities and their use in scientific contexts
in this article.
How do you measure Humidity? Meteorologists and supporting technicians use a hygrometer. A closely related instrument, known as a psychrometer humidity meter, carries out the same function .
In this case, temperature is shown on two thermometers. One of which is kept wet and the other dry. Then we can compare the two, calculate and chart the dew point to use the data in our subsequent analyses.
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objects around, and then we can use the motion to
determine and track which way the air moves and how fast. We normally use things likes flags, airport wind socks and weather vanes.
Research weather vanes and comparable kinetic motion indicators point the direction of air flow. Wind speed instruments are called anemometers. By putting these two values together (speed and direction), we obtain a vector quantity. What is that? Simply one that requires at least two inputs, speed and direction in this case. Wind data loggers record this information.
Next comes rain gauges - How much rain (or snow) did we get last night? Find out what this number means.
Some devices let us look at weather conditions from far away. In preparing forecast information, weather services use these data sources along with figures from surface-based weather equipment.
Radiosonde - A package of temperature and humidity recorders put together with a few other instruments. They are placed in a box with a transmitter and locator to send weather information back to earth by radio signals.
We attach the package to a weather balloon, let it fly and record these parameters at
and even hundreds of miles downwind.
Weather Satellite - a space vehicle high above the earth. We equip satellites with many cameras for taking satellite photos of the clouds below. Some satellite gadgets can see inside the clouds. These are the only machines that give us information from outside of the atmosphere.
Radar - (RAdio Detection And Ranging). An electric system for sending and receiving radio waves microwaves, actually to find things. The radar has been used for finding military vehicles and artillery, obstacles as well as storms and areas of precipitation.
Doppler Weather Radar
- A radar that can also tell which way things are moving and how fast.
Very useful for finding speeding cars and preparing an advisory - a
severe weather forecast which helps
pinpoint tornadoes, tornados and other strong winds.
Pilots will also describe weather they encounter during their flights. The weather reports they view before takeoff cannot tell them everything. So when they see something unusual, they send pilot reports, PIREPs.
Want to see some official observations, made using scientific and electronic weather equipment like the items listed above? Look at a METAR. This article tells you how to decode and read a METAR weather report.
All the different kinds of weather equipment are enough to even make Bill Nye's head spin.
If you wish to keep updated on this stuff and related
concepts, physical science articles and the science of meteorology, have
a look at
Blowin' in the Wind,
a newsletter on the subject. You might read something interesting. Do you have anything interesting to add?
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If anyone needs them, I have the plans and specifications for the Stevenson Screen as well as the Hazen Thermometer Shelter. bobby_hamill@yahoo dot …
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Where can we find weather equipment or instruments for home weather stations?
Weather station equipment comes in practical and decorative forms.
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