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Surface in-situ Instruments

Stevenson Screen instrument enclosure

The development of improved techniques for the use of surface in-situ measurements in support of weather prediction, airfield safety monitoring and climate applications.

This area of Observations Research focuses on improving the way in which we use in-situ surface based measurements to improve forecasting capabilities and climate records. In addition there is a strong link to the measurements that are used at flying airfields to provide safety focused operational aids. These measurements are largely delivered via automatic weather stations. The Met Office has always been at the forefront of automatic weather station measurements. These stations provide the well established and well known measurements such as air temperature, pressure, humidity and wind.

Key challenges in this area are

  • cost effective provision of climate quality records that need to be very highly uniform (see GCOS principles)
  • provision of key measurements including visibility, weather and cloud to continue the manual records where these are no longer made

The Met Office has recently refreshed the infrastructure of its AWS network. Data measurement and collection is now done by MMS (Meteorological Monitoring System) which uses local data loggers to feed one-minute average values into a database at the Met Office's Exeter HQ. The instrument used for cloud base recording has recently shown potential for indicating the presence of Volcanic ash following the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland

Key Aims

  • To lead technical change in Surface Observing systems.
  • To assess the value in improving measurement scope and use.

Current projects

  • MMS ongoing development.
  • Refinement of Cloud base recorder system for Volcanic ash.
  • Provision of improved precipitation size distribution sensors.
  • Automation of real time quality control of surface measurements .
  • Small automatic weather station systems.

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