Daily Weather Observations
Daily weather observations are observed weather elements that are recorded each day and often recorded in a log book or chart. This allows the observer to look back to calculate averages or to find trends. Common elements that are recorded on a weather observation chart include data and time, temperature, precipitation, air pressure, humidity, and wind speed and direction. If it is a human observation, cloud formations and other sky conditions might also be included. However, these days many daily weather observations are taken by home weather stations that have the ability to record all of the elements mentioned above automatically.
Performing daily weather observations is both fun and educational for people of all ages. Enthusiasts like myself are intrigued by the data and like to keep their own records. In other cases, keeping a weather observation chart with daily recordings is a great way to teach your children or students about the weather. Questions will undoubtedly come up like: Why is it cold in January when it was so hot in July?, Why are clouds white?, and…What does humidity mean? These are great teaching moments. You might even have to google some of them and learn something new yourself!
Speaking of learning, Stephen Burt wrote a great book called The Weather Observer’s Handbook that is packed full of information about making weather observations. I highly recommend it if you’re considering taking daily observations.
Past Daily Weather Observations
Submit free request to Climate.gov for past daily weather observations for your zip code. It’s easy to do, costs you nothing and the data is provided your email address very quickly. I ran test request for this blog post and received the last 12mo of daily weather observations for my zip code within minutes! Note, not all areas will have all data for their observations. Some items have been left blank, indicating that a data observation was not reported for that element on that date.
The weather observation chart you receive through the link above actually comes from the Global Historical Climatology Network, utilizing both humans and automated weather stations from around the world. The data sets are put out there, with easy access so you can compare with your records or fill in gaps if you were out of town. You can also use it to graph trends, dating back, before you did your own daily weather observations. It also allows you to check the weather for specific dates in history which is kind of cool!
Recording weather observations daily in a log book is a great past time. Most observers find that they are more in tune with what is going on in the atmosphere and actually become decent predictors of the coming weather after they better understand what they are looking at. Give it a try, even if just for a short month-long trial period first. I think you’ll enjoy it!