A wind sock blowing in the wind at an airport.

Surface in-situ Instruments

This area of Observations Research & Development 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.

Continuous surface data measurement and collection is 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. Current work involves looking at how to exploit new developments in measurement and communication technologies, along with new methods of monitoring the weather, to develop an improved surface observation network.

Key Aims

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

Current projects

  • Upgrading communication links across our surface observations network.
  • Transforming the way we collect, manage and expose our observations.
  • Automation of real time quality control of surface measurements.
  • Small automatic weather station systems.