Weather Forecasting Instrument
Weather forecasters are people who study the weather so they can tell us what to expect when we go outside.
Another word for a weather forecaster is a meteorologist.
How they do their job
A meteorologist uses different instruments to measure temperature, the amount of moisture in the air, how fast the wind is blowing, which direction the wind is blowing, what kind of air is in the atmosphere in different places, and which direction air masses are moving.
Here are some of the instruments used to forecast the weather:
- Barometer: an instrument that measures the pressure of the air. If the air pressure is rising (getting higher), the weather will be calm and mild. If the air pressure is falling, the weather is going to be rainy or stormy.
- Thermometer: a thermometer measures the temperature of the air.
- Sling Psychrometic: measures the humidity in the air. Humidity is the amount of moisture in the air, so this instrument tells weather forecasters how much moisture is in the air. If the air is Moist air is heavier than dry air, so when the air is humid, we sweat more (or it shows more) because our sweat cannot evaporate in the heavy, moist air.
- Wind sock: tells you which direction the wind is blowing.
- Rain gauge: measures how much rain falls to the ground.
- Anemometer: measures how fast the wind is blowing.
- Weather satellites and computers: tracks the weather patterns from high up in the atmosphere and collects the data so the weather forecasters can use it. The satellites can see the clouds from ABOVE and send the information to forecasters on the ground using a computer.
- Radar: an electronic instrument used to track how much precipitation is falling, where it is falling, and which direction it is moving. Radar also tracks tornadoes, hurricanes and other types of storms.
The different kinds of radar
DOPPLER RADAR: tells forecasters how strong a storm is, the wind direction and speed, and how much rain or snow there will be. Doppler Radar also gives forecasters the ability to see severe storms before they hit; thunderstorms that cause hail, strong winds, and even tornadoes. By knowing these storms are coming, weather forecasters can warn people to protect themselves.
NEXRAD RADAR: is a more up-to-date version of Doppler radar. It gives forecasters the ability to see storms forming sooner than they could before.
A job that always changes
The weather is always changing and there is nothing we can do about it—it’s just nature. That is why a weather forecaster cannot always predict the weather correctly. But using the instruments they have and by watching the sky itself, they do the very best they can.