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weather station[′weth·ər ‚stā·shən]
(also meteorological station), station where regular observations of atmospheric conditions are made. These observations include measurements of the values of meteorological elements at specified times and determinations of the basic characteristics (the beginning, end, and intensity) of atmospheric phenomena. The first weather stations were established as early as the 18th century, when individual scientists or scientific societies began to make systematic weather observations. In the 19th century, after the establishment of central meteorological institutes, in particular, the Main Physical Observatory in St. Petersburg (1849), weather stations were directed centrally and had a common program of observations.
A weather station has a meteorological platform where most of the instruments are mounted (a shelter with thermometers and hygrometers, instruments that measure wind speed and direction, precipitation gauges, soil thermometers, and so on). It also has a service building where barometers, recorders for remote instruments, and portable instruments are located and data are processed. The observations are made in accordance with a standard program during a ten-minute interval every three or six hours or in some cases hourly. The data thus obtained are coded and transmitted in the form of a numerical message to specified locations (the weather bureau, aviation weather stations, and so on). In addition to the standard observations many weather stations make agrometeorological observations and measure the intensity of solar radiation (direct, scattered, and total), the radiation balance, the amount of moisture evaporated from the soil, and the like. There are also weather stations on ships, and automatic stations operate on buoys in the open sea and in uninhabited areas.
The data from these observations are used to make forecasts, give warnings of phenomena that are harmful for the national economy, study the climate and changes in it, and provide information about the weather directly to organizations. In the USSR the basic network of weather stations is part of the Hydrometeorological Service of the USSR.
REFERENCENastavlenie gidrometeorologicheskim stantsiiam i postam, 4th ed., fasc. 3. Leningrad, 1969.
I. V. KRAVCHENKO