A high quality weather observation is not just about an instrument fulfilling the accuracy specifications. Below you can find the three main factors that you should consider when procuring new equipment.
1. Understand the application requirements
It is the application that determines the requirements for an observing system.
Here are some examples:
• A single instrument can provide data for many applications. An observation used in synoptic meteorology may not qualify for climatological time series. However, an observation made for climatological purposes may be used in other applications as well.
• The required observation network density may vary; the network may not need to be as dense in climatological applications as, for example, in meteorological applications.
• The observed meteorological parameters depend on the application, such as those measured by an automatic weather station.
• Siting of the observing system must be considered carefully so that the observed data is applicable for the intended application, for example installing a weather radar to a location support both aviation and hydrological applications.
2. Define the instrument specifications
Once the application requirements are clear, it is time to focus on the instruments and their specifications.
Here are a few useful pointers to take into account:
• To ensure the widest possible usage of the same data, it is wise to choose an instrument that is as accurate as possible, taking into account the different applications.
• Don't forget to consider the long-term stability of the equipment or the need for re-calibration. Sensor drift during the operation creates a bias to the observation and can seriously affect the quality of the forecast.
• Take into account the environmental conditions to which the equipment will be installed. Heat, salt, dust, moisture, snow, all these can have effect on the measurement performance and the lifetime of the equipment.
Meteorological product selection
3. Maintain the equipment
Even the best sensors are prone to drifting and need calibration. Components that move mechanically are subject to wearing and may sometimes need to be replaced. In order to avoid inaccurate or missing data, consider preventive maintenance of the equipment already in the purchasing phase.
A service contract can help you with things such as:
• Technical support, training, and spare parts
• Maintenance personnel that is able to perform the preventive and corrective tasks when needed
• Decreased need for unforeseen repairs and spare parts
• Lowered life cycle costs and continual supply of high-quality data