Weather Forecasting Instruments
One hundred years ago, instruments for weather forecasting were as complex as a barometer or thermometer, and as simple as your own five senses.
Fun Facts about Weather Forecasting Instruments for Kids
- A barometer measures air pressure. When the air pressure is rising, you can expect mild weather. When the air pressure falls, stormy, rainy weather is on the way.
- A thermometer can tell you how warm or cold conditions are. Thermometers are usually glass tubes that contain a liquid, such as alcohol or mercury. As the air outside the thermometer gets warmer, it causes the liquid in the thermometer to expand and rise. When cold air returns, the liquid contracts and goes down.
- A sling psychrometric measures the relative humidity of the air, which is a measurement of how much moisture is in the air. Humid air feels heavy and moist. In hot weather, you feel miserable because sweat doesn’t evaporate. In cold weather, you feel chilled to the bone. Dry air feels light. You can regulate your body temperature better, but your skin feels dry. So do the membranes in your nose.
- A rain gauge collects rain and measures how much has fallen.
- A wind sock or wind vane tells you which way the wind is blowing.
- An anemometer is a device that measures wind speed.
- Weather maps are usually computerized maps that detail weather patterns on a large part of the planet.
- Weather balloons measure weather patterns high above the Earth.
- Weather satellites track and record weather patterns high in the atmosphere. They send data and photos back to weather forecasters on Earth.
Weather Forecasting Instrument Vocabulary
- Complex: detailed, complicated
- Expand: become larger
- Contract: become smaller; shrink
- Humid: contains a lot of moisture
- Miserable: uncomfortable, unhappy
Learn More About Weather Forecasting Instruments
Watch and listen to this video about weather forecasting instruments:
A video song about the different kinds of weather instruments.
Weather Forecasting Instrument Q&A
Question: Is there an instrument to measure snowfall?
Answer: Weather forecasters measure snow with a snow gauge. You can make one of your own. Set a board on flat, solid ground. After a snowfall, insert a ruler straight down in the snow. Measure the amount of snow that has fallen.
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