Official weather readings: Why are they taken at the airport?

Weather For Kids

No one lives there, why do we measure weather there?

Official weather readings are crucial to accurate forecasting. How can we know future weather if we don’t know what the true current conditions?

Official weather stations measure data like temperature, dewpoint, wind speed and direction and precipitation amounts.

These official weather readings are often taken at airports. Our is at the Youngstown Warren Regional Airport. I often get the question, “Why do we take the reading at the airport when no one lives there?”. There are several good reasons and a lot of them deal with topography – or the physical features of the land.

A few requirements for an official weather reading:

  1. Flat surface
  2. Anamometers must be 10 meters above the ground and the nearest obstructing object can be no more than 10x’s closer than the height of that object. Example: A 10 foot tree much be 100 feet away from the weather station.
  3. Temperature measurements must be taken about 2 meters off the ground and the nearest obstructing object can be no more than 2x’s the height of that object.
  4. They must be away from air conditioners, chimneys etc.

All of these things could impact the reading and alter what the true conditions are. For more details, head to weather.gov to see where you can place your own, accurate weather reading station.

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