Are my measurements right?

Once you've decided what you're going to measure as part of the Weather Labs, you need to make sure your measurements are correct.

How to get valid measurements with your weather instruments

Experiments do not always give valid results. Errors in measuring weather conditions might be caused by local winds and draughts, shade, inaccurate readings, faulty devices and much more. Get it wrong and no-one will trust your weather forecast again! So you need to be sure that your weather readings are as good as you can make them.

Weather scientists at Manchester University have recorded two special podcasts for Weather Labs all about this. Fiddly Forecasts discusses how weather forecasts work and what can make them very wrong. In Murky Measurements, the weather scientists give you their top tips for making accurate measurements.

There is a detailed guide to all the issues and problems with measuring weather here:

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Make sure your measurements are accurate

Here are four key Weather Labs questions for using instruments to get the most accurate data readings possible, for whatever device you are using.

  1. What size of team should you use to make, place and read your instrument and record its data?Think about why scientists work in teams and why it is beneficial.
  2. What instruments will you use? Would it help to make several versions of the same instrument? Would the instrument be more useful if each one was identical or slightly different? How can you be sure that readings from different instruments are valid?
  3. How many times should you carry out the experiment? Would it help to repeat the experiment several times? What should be different or similar between each run of the experiment? Think about the location, timing and size of team.
  4. If you collect data from several instruments, or from several repeats of the experiment, how can you turn all the different data into one final figure? Should you consider every result even if one seems wildly different from the rest? How helpful is an average? Would a mode be more useful? Ask a maths or science teacher for advice.

Have a look at Get the method straight for more suggestions on how to get accurate measurements from your weather instruments.

Weather Data Experiment

weather Schools across the UK can report local weather to help improve forecast
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