What Is a Weather station? A Complete Guide to Weather Stations and Its Instruments.

Weather stations are used to monitor the weather. They are used for various applications, including irrigation, snowfall monitoring, forecasting precipitation, etc. Weather stations use an onboard weather sensor to measure temperature, humidity, wind speed, wind direction, and pressure. This information is then sent via the internet/GSM to a receiver which sends the information to your computer or other devices.

A weather station is a place where meteorological measurements are recorded. The term is most often used in the context of weather observation, but may also refer to other related services. A weather station is mostly operated by a government agency, university, or any organization and provides a variety of services to interested parties. These services include providing weather forecasts, observing atmospheric conditions, measuring air temperature, pressure, humidity, wind speed and direction, precipitation, and other environmental conditions, and providing warnings for hazardous weather situations. The earliest meteorological observations were made by sailors.

Weather Observatory

In ancient times, it was believed that the gods caused storms to rain down on people they did not like. The first person to record weather measurements using a barometer was Englishman John Wilkins in 1642. In 1837, American Benjamin Franklin developed an early form of the barometer, which was widely used in the 1840s and 1850s.

There are different types of weather stations. There are main two types which are further divided in to subtypes.

  • Man operated weather stations
  • Automatic weather stations

Man operated weather stations

These types of weather stations are operated manually. Met Instruments i.e barometer, thermometers etc.) are installed in its premises. An observer periodically monitors the readings of instruments and records them. These stations are mostly owned by the government and staff is deployed to perform day to day operations. Data from these stations are used for weather forecasting, research, flight operations etc. World Meteorological Organization has assigned station codes to the weather stations all around the world so that each station can be identified with its unique code. Met data recorded from these stations are used for several weather products.i.e METAR( Meteorological terminal aerodrome report), TAFOR ( Terminal aerodrome forecast report), Weather SYNOPTIC situation in WMO standard coded form, Weather forecasting etc.

Man operated weather stations are further divided in to:

Land weather stations:

These are fixed stations located at a particular geographical region on a land. These stations have met instruments installed in its observatory. Some of the instruments are thermometers, barometer, wind vane, rain gauge,  snow gauge, sunshine recorder, anemometer etc. All the instruments are installed according to WMO standards and specifications.  

Ship weather stations

Such weather stations are located at ships in a sea. Ship moves in water. Met data at different locations is obtained and are transmitted for its use. These stations have all essential weather apparatus to monitor the meteorological parameters.

Pros of Manual Weather Stations:

  • More accurate data can be obtained.
  • Less chances of Malfunctioning of instruments.

Automatic Weather Stations:

These are very portable and easy to use. These stations can record data and stores it for long time. Automatic weather stations (AWS) have electronic circuitry inside it due to which it performs its functions automatically. With advancement of technology advancements are made in such types of devices.

Automatic weather stations are battery powered. Data is sensed by its sensors and are displayed on the screen. These weather stations can be installed anywhere. These stations have built in sensors of temperature, wind, rainfall, pressure, snowfall and many more features according to its type.

Pros of AWS:

  • Less maintenance is required
  • No man power is needed.
  • Can be installed at such places which are far away from population.

Cons of AWS:

  • Chances of malfunctioning.
  • Not as reliable as a manual weather station.
  • Automatic weather station can be further divided in to:

Personal/Home Weather station

Personal weather stations are compact and contain limited functions. These are easy to operate and maintain. These can be portable or fixed. Such types are used for limited use.

Professional weather station

Professional weather stations are most advanced and contain much more features and functions. These are solar powered with prolonged battery backup. Data of these weather stations are used for many purposes. Data can be transmitted through internet/GSM.

Salient Features of Professional Weather Stations:

  • Compact data can be obtained in numerical as well as graphical form.
  • Have more advanced features and options.
  • Easy to operate and maintain.


  • These are Costly as compared to personal weather stations.

Instruments of Weather Station:

There are different types of weather stations i.e land weather stations, marine weather stations, etc. Different instruments are used at these stations depending on the data needed.

  1. Temperature/Humidity Sensor

A temperature and humidity sensor is used to measure the ambient temperature and humidity of a room or other enclosure. The most common type of temperature and humidity sensor is a digital, solid-state sensor. The word thermometer comes from the Greek words theremin meaning heat, and metron meaning measure. The basic principle of a mercury thermometer is that mercury inside the bulb expands with increasing temperature and contracts with a decrease in temperature. 

Is there a need to measure the humidity in the air? Yes, we need to measure the humidity because it affects the health of humans. Humidity affects the body temperature by increasing or decreasing heat loss, sweat production, breathing rate, and the immune system. Humidity also affects the growth of mold and mildew.

There is also a manual way of calculating relative humidity. Relative humidity can be measured by using the dry bulb and wet bulb thermometers by taking the difference between dry bulb and wet bulb temperatures and then using a hydrometric table for dry bulb temperature and its corresponding dry bulb and wet bulb temperature difference.

Example: Dry bulb temperature 10 C and wet bulb temperature 08 C.

Subtract 8 C from 10 C. We get 2 C.

Look in a hydrometric table for 10 C corresponding to 2 C. we will get the dew point and relative humidity.

Thermometers inside Stevenson Screen

2. Barometer


Mercury Barometer


Digital Barometer

A barometer is an instrument used to measure air pressure. The most common type of barometer is the mercury barometer, invented in 1816 by the English scientist John Michell. It consists of a glass tube containing mercury, that expands and contracts with atmospheric pressure. The height of mercury in the tube is proportional to the atmospheric pressure. Digital barometers are widely used nowadays. Digital barometers not only provide real-time data but also stores data of different intervals.

3. Wind Meter/Anemometer And  Wind Vane:

Wind meters/Anemometers are designed to measure the speed of wind in real-time. The device itself is usually placed at an elevated location where it can capture a significant amount of wind energy that would otherwise be lost to the environment. A wind meter measures the wind’s speed and direction. The information recorded by a wind meter is used to calculate the energy of the wind. Anemometers and wind vanes are used for wind speed and direction detection respectively.

Wind Dials of Anemometer and Wind Vane.

4. Rain Guage:

Rain gauges are instruments used to measure rainfall. The rain gauge measures the amount of water that falls into a container or funnel . The measurements are recorded at specific intervals of time. These measurements are used to calculate the daily, monthly, yearly, etc rainfall. Rain gauges may be used to measure rain on an individual basis or they may be used to collect data for large-scale studies.

Rain Guage

5. Evaporation Tank:

An evaporation tank is a device used to measure the evaporation of water. This tank measures the evaporation rate of water by taking readings of the water level at different intervals. It is useful to know how much water can be lost during evaporation. Evaporation is calculated by calculating the water level difference.

Evapouration Tank

6. Sunshine Recorder:

The amount of sunlight reaching the ground during the day can be measured with the sunshine recorder. Campbell–Stokes sunshine recorder is mostly used at meteorological observatories. A sunshine card is placed in it daily. The sunshine burns the sunshine card during the sun rays on the sunshine recorder.

In automatic weather stations, the Sunshine recorder is a small, battery-powered device that is placed on the ground or on a pole. The unit records the amount of light in one-minute intervals over 24 hours and can store the data.

7. Snow Gauge:

The Snow gauge is used to measure the quantity of snowfall in a particular place at a given time. A snow gauge is a very useful instrument for measuring snowfall. It can be used to measure the total amount of snowfall in a given period. There are different types of snow gauges available in the market. Snow can also be measured by using a scale at weather stations.

8. Weather Radar:

A weather radar is used to detect precipitation and measure the amount of precipitation that is falling or that is on its way to the earth’s surface. Doppler radars are widely used in meteorology.

Radar operates by sending out electromagnetic waves into the atmosphere and receiving back the echoes from the precipitation particles as they bounce off the atmosphere. These signals are then used to produce images of the precipitation, such as rain, snow, hail, or other precipitation. The radar beam can be focused on any area, such as a specific region, or the entire globe. Weather radars are very expensive.

What are Satellite Images of Weather?

Satellite images are often used by meteorologists and weather forecasters to determine the current weather conditions for a specific region. The most common type of satellite imagery is obtained from NOAA satellites, which provide daily satellite images over the United States and all over the world. How do they work? The satellite that produces the images passes over the earth at a very high speed. It captures a series of photos of the earth as it passes over the area of interest, and these images are then compiled into one image. You can see free satellite images from aviation.org, windy.com website, and many more sources.

What are the Types of Automatic Weather Stations?

There are several different types of weather stations available, with the most popular being the handheld type and the desktop/wall mountable type. The latter type is often referred to as a wireless weather station.  Hand-held weather stations are relatively inexpensive and are best for monitoring the weather in a small area. They are very convenient because they are portable and can be used at any time. They can also be used indoors if necessary. However, these types of weather stations typically have limited data collection capability. Most handheld weather stations only collect temperature and wind speed/direction information. Some models can measure barometric pressure and humidity, but not all. 

How to Install An Automatic Weather Station  

Weather stations are very useful tools that will help you with planning and executing indoor and outdoor activities. But how do you know which one is best for your needs? Well, it’s quite simple.

First, think about the type of weather you are interested in monitoring. Then, choose a weather station based on the type of weather you need to monitor. Next, decide how often you want to use the weather station. If you want to monitor the weather every day, then choose a weather station that can be set up and operated easily. If you want to monitor the weather once a week or once a month, then choose a weather station that can be operated once a week or once a month. Finally, consider the price of the weather station.

If you want to buy a weather station that has many features, then choose a more expensive weather station. However, if you only want to monitor temperature, wind speed, and wind direction, then choose a cheaper weather station. There are many weather stations in the market. They all have different features. Some of them have automatic monitoring capabilities. Others have alarm capabilities. Still, others have internet capabilities. Some have remote monitoring capabilities. And some have web-based monitoring capabilities. The type of weather station you choose will depend on your needs and budget.


Automatic Weather Station

Weather stations are a great way to monitor the weather. They can be used for various applications, including irrigation, monitoring snowfall, and forecasting precipitation. Weather stations use an onboard weather sensor to measure temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, and pressure. This information is then sent via the internet/GSM to a receiver which relays the information to your computer or another device.

Why Weather Stations are important:

Weather stations are necessary for providing data for the smooth operation of many events. At airports meteorological observatories are located that issue METAR (Meteorological Terminal Aerodrome Report), SPECI (Special Weather Report), TAFOR TERMINAL AERODROME FORECAST), and other aviation-related products. Agromet stations provide advisories and weather data to farmers. Weather SYNOPTIC is also issued from Meteorological observatories.

Why You Should Buy A Weather Station

Weather plays a significant role in our daily lives and affects everything from our daily routines to our outdoor activities and even the safety of our homes and property. Keeping track of the weather is crucial, but relying on news broadcasts and online sources may not provide the accurate and real-time information that you need. This is where a weather station comes in handy. In this blog post, we will explore the benefits of owning a weather station and why it’s a necessary investment for anyone who wants to stay informed about their local weather conditions.

Personal Benefits of Owning a Weather Station

One of the most significant benefits of owning a weather station is the accurate and real-time weather information it provides. With a weather station, you’ll be able to monitor conditions such as temperature, humidity, wind speed, and rainfall in your local area. This information is not only useful for planning your day, but it also helps you to prepare for any weather conditions that may affect your health. For example, if you have allergies, a weather station can help you track the pollen count and plan accordingly.

Another personal benefit of owning a weather station is improved outdoor activities and planning. Whether you’re an avid gardener, a hiker, or a sports enthusiast, knowing the current weather conditions and forecasts will help you make informed decisions about your outdoor activities. With a weather station, you’ll be able to plan your day and adjust your activities accordingly.

Practical Benefits of Owning a Weather Station

In addition to personal benefits, a weather station can provide practical benefits that protect your property and valuables. For example, if you live in an area that is prone to storms, a weather station can help you stay ahead of any severe weather conditions and take necessary precautions to protect your home and property. By tracking the wind speed, rainfall, and other weather conditions, you’ll be better prepared for any storms or severe weather that may come your way.

Another practical benefit of owning a weather station is better crop and garden management. If you have a garden or farm, a weather station can help you track the temperature, humidity, and rainfall in your area. This information can be used to make informed decisions about planting and harvesting, ensuring that your crops receive the proper care they need.

Finally, a weather station can also help you save energy. By monitoring the temperature and humidity in your home, you can make adjustments to your heating and cooling systems to reduce energy consumption and lower your utility bills.


In conclusion, a weather station is a necessary investment for anyone who wants to be informed about the weather in their local area, enhance their outdoor activities, and protect their property. Whether you’re a casual weather enthusiast or a farmer, a weather station provides accurate and real-time weather information that can be used to make informed decisions. With its personal and practical benefits, owning a weather station is a smart investment that can improve your quality of life and protect your property

Holds BS Degree in Electrical Engineering and MS Degree in Meteorology and currently working in the field of meteorology as an assistant weather forecaster. Love helping people know what the weather is doing. Researcher of the weather conditions and make forecasts for several different locations.

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