What are meteorological instruments? (with photos)

Wind speed is measured by anemometers.

Meteorological instruments are scientific instruments used in the study of the weather. The study of weather requires the use of equipment that can measure things like wind direction, humidity, atmospheric pressure, solar radiation, precipitation, temperature, wind speed, evaporation rate, and so on. Other instruments help people with visible observations, such as studying clouds and storm systems, recording visual data that can be read or studied later, and compared with other visual data from different locations and times.

Thermometers provide temperature readings.

These specialized scientific instruments are often made by companies that focus only on this type of equipment. These companies constantly conduct research to refine and improve their products and to find new measurement methods that can be useful to scientists. Meteorologists may order instruments through supplier catalogs or individual companies, and can sometimes work on developing specialized custom instruments for specific applications. Customized equipment can be used for special meteorological investigations, including studying the weather on other planets, which may require some very unique devices.

For a weather station where scientists take continuous readings and observations, some weather instruments may include the following:

barometers for pressure along with barographs for recording pressure readings; thermometers for temperature; anemometers to measure wind speed; actinometers for measuring solar radiation; psychrometers for relative humidity; evaporimeters, also known as atmometers, to measure the rate of evaporation; and weather vanes to indicate the wind direction.

Many of these instruments can be connected to devices that carry records so that researchers can analyze the data they collect and access it remotely when they cannot visit the weather station in person.

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The weather vanes indicate the wind direction.

Meteorologists also launch satellites to make meteorological observations from space, classically to record the movement of clouds and storm systems. They also use tools like weather balloons and radiosondes to make weather observations in Earth’s atmosphere. These devices include instrument packages that can take a variety of measurements and send them back to a weather station or store them so they can be accessed when the device is collected.

Psychrometers indicate relative humidity.

Some instruments used in meteorology are very old, while others are more recent inventions. Like other scientific instruments, meteorological equipment must be kept in good condition to make accurate measurements. As it is exposed to the weather, special care must be taken to keep it clean and properly calibrated. Failure to maintain instruments can result in incorrect readings, which distort or compromise the data being collected. Instrument companies often take them back for recalibration and repair by arrangement.

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