Weather observations

burke3The National Weather Service, Federal Aviation Administration, and Department of Defense all heavily rely on accurate and timely weather observations.  Together, these three government organizations helped create the nationwide Automated Surface Observing System (ASOS) network.  ASOS stations are automatic weather stations that report and record many weather variables.  ASOS stations are located throughout the entire United States and provide necessary weather information such as temperature, dewpoints, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind speed/direction, and precip measurements, just to name a few.  With the largest and most modern weather sensors, ASOS has significantly expanded the information available to forecasters and the aviation community. The ASOS network has more than doubled the number of full-time surface weather observing locations. ASOS works non-stop, updating observations every minute, 24 hours a day, every day of the year.  However, ASOS stations are not the only weather stations located throughout America.  Many volunteers run their own co-op weather stations in order to help out the NWS.  These volunteers monitor and record their station’s data twice a day, every day of the year.  ASOS and co-op weather stations together provide the nation’s  forecasters with the most accurate data.  This data is also compiled to generate climate data and normals for each location.

burkeIf you have your own weather station in your backyard, here are a few things to consider in order for your temperature readings to be accurate.  Thermometers should be shielded from the sun, rain, snow and other sources of light, heat, or cold that can cause false readings. If an instrument shelter is used (preferably a white shelter), it should be designed to allow the maximum possible free flow of air while providing protection from heat, precipitation and light. A shady location on the northeast side of a home is a preferred site. The thermometer should be 4.5 to 6 feet above the ground and in a grassy location. A flat, open clearing is desirable so that the thermometer is freely ventilated by the flow of air. Stay at least 100 feet away from concrete or paved surfaces. Also avoid balconies, patios, and enclosed porches.

-EB

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Posted under weather

This post was written by qni_it on June 25, 2009

1 Comment so far

  1. Jan June 26, 2009 8:42 PM

    Thanks for the interesting information.

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