Weather Station Siting Guide Infographic

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Weather Station Installation and Siting Guide

The most important aspect of a weather station installation is its location.  If it’s not located properly, the accuracy will suffer.  In fact, many consumers that complain about accuracy of their weather station don’t have a hardware issue.  They just have not installed it correctly.  There are many factors to consider when siting a weather station.  We’ll provide some guidelines in this weather station installation guide that will ensure you get the sensors located optimally from the start.

Installation Guidelines

These guidelines will ensure a proper siting of your weather instruments.  Siting is the process of locating where the sensors will go, AKA weather station placement.  Note, these guidelines reference some recommendations by the National Weather Service for proper siting.  Let’s tackle the sensors one by one and discuss factors to consider when siting a weather station.

Outdoor Thermometer

Temperature is one of the most important things measured by a weather station.  People plan their days around the temperature in many ways.  It likely affects your daily activities, where you go, and what you wear.  Keep these recommendations in mind when siting your thermometer.  It should be:

  • mounted approximately 4-6 feet high on level, natural ground, no pavement
  • located at least twice the height away from any obstructions (example: 12ft away from a 6ft tree)
  • no placed in direct sunlight unless a radiation shield is being used
  • kept away from other heat sources such as chimneys, air conditioners, vents, etc

Anemometer and Wind Vane

Wind is another measurement that many fail to get good readings on due to placement of the instruments during your weather station installation.  Recommendations to increase wind data accuracy:

  • site wind instruments approximately 33 feet above the ground level
  • it should be above the roof apex influence and tree canopy
  • if placed on side of a mast (rather than the top), the distance away should be 3x the mast diameter (example: 1.5 inch pole, boom should be 4.5 inches away from the pole)

Rain Gauge

A rain gauge needs to be out in the open where it can collect rain no differently than if nothing was around.  Ideally, you could find an open field for such placement, but here are some guidelines:

  • siting should be 2-5 feet above ground level, preferably natural ground, not pavement
  • make sure there is no in-splashing from surrounding hard, flat surfaces
  • do not mount near the roof line where water could flow into the rain collector
  • distance to nearby obstructions should be ½ the distance than the height difference between the obstruction and the orifice of the rain gauge (example: 3 feet away from an obstruction that is 6 feet taller than the rain gauge orifice height)

Hygrometer

Hygrometers measure humidity.  It should reflect the humidity in the surrounding area.  Siting considerations:

  • open area is preferred
  • do not place near trees or bodies of water
  • fan aspiration is recommended

weather station installation

Time For a Reality Check

It’s important for you to understand what perfect weather station placement looks like in case you’re having issues with accuracy and need to troubleshoot.  This is what we’re describing above in this weather station installation guide; perfection.  In reality, it’s very unlikely that you’ll be able to follow most of these recommendations with even the best home weather station models.

Many weather enthusiasts might live in urban areas and not have the ability to locate their weather station free of all obstructions.  Check out our article on mounting ideas for areas that are not ideal.  Furthermore, there are specific models made for this type of environment like Netatmo’s Urban Weather Station.

There are of course additional factors to consider when siting a weather station installation.  For example, keep in mind the overall accuracy of your weather station.  Most weather stations for home use aren’t going to be accurate enough that it matters if the anemometer is mounted on a 33 foot mast in an open field or just mounted above your roof line with no other nearby obstructions.  In fact, many household units are all-in-one weather stations these days.  They don’t even allow you to mount the thermometer and anemometer separately anyway.  


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