Weather instruments are mounted on the top of the Great Blue Hill Weather Observatory in Milton, MA.
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Image courtesy of Wikipedia Creative Commons
Knowing what weather is on the way is important to many people. For example, farmers plan their planting schedule based on the upcoming weather. They might not want to plant seeds right before a heavy rainstorm or a night with temperatures below freezing. Forecasts are also important for human safety. When people know that a hurricane or tornado is in the forecast they can take appropriate measures to ensure their safety. People also plan their leisure time based on the weather forecast.
In order to predict the weather, meteorologists constantly gather information about weather conditions everywhere on Earth. This information is collected using specialized equipment. A barometer measures atmospheric pressure, a thermometer measures the temperature, and an anemometer measures wind speed and direction. Weather radar detects precipitation in the clouds, and the Doppler radar takes measurements of winds in clouds in order to predict severe storms and tornadoes. All of these measurements help scientists make an accurate weather forecast.
Weather stations often contain the different weather instruments listed above to collect data. In addition, scientists launch weather balloons to collect data from the atmosphere. Research aircraft also carry instruments to collect data about weather and climate.
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