A Meteorological Station or weather station as it is also known, is a place where data is gathered to monitor weather conditions. This facility could be on land or at sea, measuring the atmospheric conditions to study climate and weather.
Typical measurements that would be taken include wind speed, wind direction, precipitation, barometric pressure, humidity and temperature. When measuring temperature and humidity, the observation is kept away from direct sunlight. When measuring, the instruments will bear the full force of the wind to gain readings.
Observing the weather will be done automatically and manually, automatically probably every hour, and manual observations once a day. For measuring data out at sea, ships and buoys will be used. but they will typically measure wave height, sea temperatures and much more.
A weather station will use most of these instruments to measure there data.
- Rain gauge: This will measure liquid precipitation over a period of time.
- Hygrometer: This instrument is used for measuring humidity
- Anemometer: Wind speed is calculated with this device.
- Barometer: For measuring atmospheric pressure.
- Thermometer: This measures land ans sea temperature.
You also may have a smaller version of a station that is set up at an airport, to monitor things such as,
- Ceiling projector: This measures the cloud ceiling
- Disdrometer: Measuring drop size distribution
- Transmissometer: This checks visibility
- A sensor for present conditions for rain fall
You also have advanced or professional weather stations that use the same instruments above, but might also include, solar radiation sensors, snow gauge, leaf wetness sensors, soil temperature sensor, and ultra violet light sensors. Another instrument they might use is a probe that measures evapotranspiration which is very useful for the agricultural industry.
Meteorological stations can be set up two ways, either wireless or wired. They both have advantages, and disadvantages, so its important to do your homework if you are thinking about buying one.
Apart from the rain gauge and the anemometer (these two instruments need to be out in the elements) the rest should be enclosed in what is called a Stevenson Screen, which it a type of vented box. This is to stop direct sunlight and wind to affect the instruments
If you have an interest in the weather for personal information it is possible now to have your own personal weather station. there is hundreds of products out there today on the market, for every ones specific needs.
You can now have all the data connected to your home PC, or laptop, this is how advanced these systems are now, and collecting data can be sent to different groups, or organisations through the internet. Another source of transmitting data to fellow meteorologists is by way of cb radio.
Because weather is part of our daily routine, it is not surprising that major weather stations have been setup in a network all over the world. These networks will monitor pressure systems and weather fronts. You can find and read about all the different networks around the world.