The weather station is your nearest source of real-time weather changes. They should be used in conjunction with different weather models and sensors when forecasting the weather. Learn all about weather stations in this article.
Weather stations definition
The weather stations or meteorological stations are facilities for weather observation and collecting different weather data together with satellites, weather buoys, meteorological probes, and radars. But the weather stations are the most — more than 40.000 official all over the world — so it is the main facility among others. They register data at a specific point on the map and send it to the big data processing centers.
Most often, stations are installed on the ground, but also at sea on a ships, or even at the aiplanes. Stations are also often installed at the airports, where it is important to constantly measure the weather.
At the station, where the observations are made by a person, the information is recorded at least once a day, at automatic stations — once per hour.
Weather stations are monitored by different government agencies of the countries where they are located. There is also the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) — a special United Nations agency, which makes sure that the number of stations does not decrease and the system of data collection works.
There are also global and regional weather stations networks analyzing different weather parameters. For example, Arizona Meteorological Network (AZMET) in the United States or the Bureau of Meteorology AWS Network in Australia.
How does weather station work
At “official” weather stations, the wind is measured at a height of 10–15 meters above sea level, i.e. we measure the wind speed not on the surface, but at some height. For this purpose, a mast is placed, on which, in turn, a station is installed.
You are well aware that at the top of the mast the station may show you a completely different wind than it is now at your ground level or water level. But traditionally weather stations measure exactly at this altitude, and the forecast is also given for an altitude of 10 meters, which is also important to understand.
First of all, it collects the most important data: temperature, atmospheric pressure, humidity, wind speed and wind direction, precipitation amounts…
Then, marine stations also measure sea surface temperature, wave height and period, and other sea data.
More equipped stations measure ultraviolet index, leaf wetness, soil moisture and temperature, water temperature in different natural water reservoirs such as lakes and rivers.
Meteostations are very different. They can be big and small, more or less complex, analog, and digital…
A classic analog professional weather station consists of the following basic weather sensors:
thermometer (air and sea temperatures),
barometer (atmospheric pressure),
pyranometer (solar radiation),
rain gauge (liquid precipitation),
sunshine recorder (amount of sunshine at some location or region).
The wind speed and direction are measured by an anemometer.
Stations at the airports may have Precipitation Identification Sensor (falling precipitation), disdrometer (drop size distribution), transmissometer (visibility), ceilometer (cloud ceiling), and other instruments.
Update time: official — every 3 hours, unofficial — depending on the station. There are automatic weather stations that work once every 5 minutes, once every minute, once every 30 seconds, and it can break down and not show anything for a long time.