Frequency of Weather Reports
The frequency of weather reports vary across different stations from country to country. timeanddate.com looks at why some weather stations give more frequent weather reports than other weather stations in the world.
Some weather stations do not report as frequently as others. For example, some stations report every 30 minutes or every hour while others may report the weather every two hours, or every three hours. Moreover, some stations are not consistent with the times in which they provide their reports. For example, one station may report every hour during the day and only once every three or four hours during the night.
Then there are weather stations that do not report the weather precisely on the hour. For example, some weather reports are available at 7.51am (07:51) instead of 7am (07:00). This is primarily because the information is displayed as it becomes available to those who disseminate the report.
timeanddate.com’s weather data comes from METAR weather reports, as well as weather stations from WMO. The weather reports on timeanddate.com are usually from the closest stations (shortest distance) within a town’s or city’s range. However the stations that are located closest to a town or city sometimes experience significantly different weather due their geographical setting, which may impact on the locations’ climatic differences. Moreover, the closest weather station for a particular location may provide infrequent weather reports so timeanddate.com will often refer to information from another station that may be further away but provides more recent data.
Why Does the Frequency of Weather Reports Vary?
The frequency of weather reports vary across different stations and in different places mainly due to resource allocation, or lack of it. Financial funding, technological availability, and the quality of human resources affect the way in which weather stations handle their data and provide reports to the general public.
Companies and government agencies that invest more financial funding towards improving human, technological, and other resources for weather stations often see that the end results show faster, more frequent, more regular, and more accurate weather reports. Some weather stations suffer delays in weather reporting because there is not enough funding to go towards providing better technological resources or staff training to effectively use equipment and data.
From a technological point of view, some governments invest in sophisticated technology, highly trained staff and adequate professional training opportunities so that weather stations can produce more accurate data on a more regular and timely basis. For example, governments in some countries invest in super computers and upgrades to achieve more accurate and detailed short-range weather forecasts (forecasts for within a period up to 48 hours), as well as improved weather reporting networks between weather stations. Many weather stations use sophisticated information processing and communication systems, automated weather observing systems, and super-speed computers.
Weather information comes from different sources, such as (but not exclusive to):
- Radar systems.
- Weather balloons.
- Land-based observation stations.
- Weather buoys.
- Airplanes and ships
Observation stations use various instruments to monitor the atmosphere’s state. An electronic thermometer checks air temperature and registers the highest and lowest temperature of the day. A hygrometer measures the amount of water vapor in the air. A barometer shows the air pressure. A weather vane indicates the direction of the wind, and an anemometer monitors wind speed. Rain gauges measure rainfall or snowfall.
From a human resource perspective, a weather station’s staff numbers, qualifications, expertise and work culture can affect the frequency and quality of data and information that is circulated to the public. Recruitment and training procedures, as well as professional development opportunities, also impact on weather stations’ output (eg. the frequency and quality of weather reporting).
The provision of better resources is the key to improving the quality and frequency of weather reports. Increased funding allocation towards enhanced technological, human and other resources would help enhance the quality of operations in a weather station. The accuracy and continuity of weather reporting is dependent on many procedures operating seamlessly.
However, even the best technology is prone to human error and missing data can occur from time to time. Organizations such as the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) believe in training more meteorologists in developing nations and providing them with more sophisticated equipment necessary for their job.