There are some important principles for collecting good data: firstly, ensuring that the quality of your readings is as good as possible, this is achieved by carful siting your weather sensors; secondly, by being aware of the limitations of both your weather equipment and the data it provides.
Accurate weather data can be achieved if the various weather sensors are sited and installed with care. It is not always possible to follow installation guidelines to the letter but mounting the sensors of a new weather station in the most convenient location will lead to errors in the data. Individual sensor locations need to be chosen with due scientific consideration for best results.
Skyview provide a breakdown of how to best install all standard weather sensors; however, siting sensors is a key topic. Extensive information can be found online via:
> 'A Guide to the Siting, Exposure and Calibration of Automatic Weather Stations for Synoptic and Climatological Observations' available as a download from the Royal Meteorological Society website.
> The FAQ pages of the uk.sci.weather newsgroup.
> 'Setting up a weather station - some simple guidelines' available as a download from the Met Office WOW website.
> The Weather Observer's Handbook - Stephen Burt
The rise of automated weather stations, which are both affordable and easy to set up, has led to an influx of meteorological data from members of the public. To achieve the most scientifically accurate readings from your new equipment sensor siting and accepting the limitation of your equipment, whatever brand or model, is key. All automatic weather stations have a specification list which will show an estimated degree of accuracy for each sensor. It is often possible to increase the accuracy of values of some parameters by calibrating certain sensors.
Remember, just because you can display or measure a value of to two decimal places (e.g. rainfall), does not mean that it is accurate to that degree. The topic of limitations has been covered in a RMets event 'Amateur Weather Observations - Opportunities and Challenges'.
One tempting way to assess the quality of your observations is to compare your own weather data with that from a neighbours or locally established equipment. All too often, customers reach the conclusion that their weather station is faulty because the two sets of data are significantly different, when in fact either the differences are genuine. This can be down to a multitude of reasons including: the two locations having different microclimates, variation in the siting of the sensors and variation in the brand of equipment used.
Read our complete range of installation guides to discover more tips: