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Weather Instruments Outline

Weather Instruments Outline

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Published by: lowe_karen on Apr 22, 2010
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   Introduction

Weather Instruments

Weather instruments and their use o thermometer  measures temperature  on ground  in air  in water o barometer  measures air pressure  changing pressure=change in weather o hygrometer  measures humidity  used to predict dew, fog, precipitation  heat index o rain gauge  measures amount of rain o anemometer  measures wind speed o wind vane  shows wind direction o data reported exactly the same  at weather stations around the world  all meteorologists can use it Measuring temperature o first called thermoscopes Galileo made a version in 16th century  allowed temperature variations to be measured  understand concept of expanding and contracting liquid today use expansion thermometer  uses mercury or alcohol  liquid expands as it gets warmer or contracts when gets colder  actually air molecules collide with thermometer • their energy transferred to mercury inside • warm air – air molecules move faster, more kinetic energy = mercury rises • cold air – air molecules move slower, less kinetic energy = mercury doesn’t rise temperature generally measured in degrees Fahrenheit or Celsius  1714 Gabriel Fahrenheit invented temperature scale – 32º freezing/212º boiling  1742 Anders Celsius proposed scale where 0º was freezing/100º boiling which is more useful to scientists thermometer placement is important  needs exposure to fresh air  but no exposure to solar energy  for accurate measurement placed in Stevenson Screen • shields thermometer from direct sunlight • white box usually made of wood with louvered slats on all four sides




Measuring air pressure o Definition  from Greek words • bar = weight • meter = measure  measures weight (or pressure) of air masses o History of barometers  Evangelista Torricelli invented mercury barometer in 1643 o How a barometer works  Water and Mercury barometer • glass tube from which air has been removed is inserted into a dish of mercury • air pressing down on the mercury in the dish forces some mercury up the tube • at Earth’s surface air pressure pushes mercury up the tube about 30 inches  Aneroid barometer • uses a small, flexible metal bellows • tightly sealed after some air is removed • high pressure pushes on bellows and lower pressure allows it to expand • this movement is recorded by a needle on the face of the instrument • aneroid barograph  slowly rotating cylinder with paper on it that can give up to a week’s records o Barometers and weather forecasting  All barometers measure rising and falling air pressure • falling barometer = bad weather on the way • rising barometer = fair weather on the way  Reporting barometer readings • National Weather Service reports surface air pressure in inches of mercury • NWS reports air pressure aloft in millibars • direct pressure measurements date back to 19th century • Norweigian meteorologist Vilhelm Bjerknes urged use of Measuring moisture o rain gauge measures amount of rain that falls  invented over 100 years ago  consists of a large cylinder with a funnel and a smaller measuring tube inside of the larger tube  reason for smaller measuring tube is for more precise measurements o hygrometer measures amount of water vapor in the air  simplest hygrometer is the sling psychrometer  made of two glass thermometers mounted together • one to measure temperature; other to measure wet bulb temperature  one is regular thermometer; the other is called a wet bulb thermometer • wet bulb thermometer has a cloth wick cover over the bulb part  wick is dipped in distilled water  psychrometer is whirled around by the handles  water evaporates from the wick on the wet bulb thermometer which cools the thermometer  this temperature is called the wet bulb temperature

the drier the air; the more water in the wick evaporates; the greater the difference between the two temperatures use a table or computer program to determine the relative humidity based on comparison between the regular thermometer and the wet bulb thermometer • if relative humidity is 100% no moisture would evaporate

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