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Uses of Meteorological Instruments

Last updated date: 05th Mar 2024
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An Overview of Meteorological Instruments

In order to determine the weather, we have to measure different parameters like the temperature, pressure, precipitation, wind speed, etc. Thus, we have different types of weather instruments to measure these different parameters. In this article, we will first state some different types of meteorological instruments and then discuss what they are used for, lastly we will discuss briefly about the rain gauge, which is an instrument used to measure rainfall, one of the most important parameters to determine the weather in any area. 

What are Meteorological Instruments?

Meteorology is the study of weather conditions around us and Meteorological instruments are the equipment which Meteorologists use to study and measure different parameters determining the weather in any area, at any given time. There are various different kinds and types of meteorological instruments, each responsible for measuring a different parameter, some of which are: 

  • Thermometer 

  • Barometer

  • Rain Gauge

Weather Instruments Pictures

Rain Gauge

Rain Gauge





Meteorological Instruments and Their Uses

There are several different types of meteorological instruments, each measuring a different parameter. In this section, we will state some of them and also discuss the uses of meteorological instruments: 

  • Thermometer

A thermometer, as the name suggests, is used to measure temperature of the air as well as the sea surface. 

  • Barometer

A barometer is an instrument used to measure the atmospheric pressure. 

  • Hygrometer

A hygrometer is an instrument that is used to measure the humidity in any area, at any given time. 

  • Anemometer

It is a meteorological instrument that is used to measure the wind speed in an area. 

  • Pyranometer 

A Pyranometer is used to measure the solar radiation that an area receives during day time. 

  • Rain Gauge

It is used to measure rainfall.

  • Wind Sock 

It is another instrument which is used to measure not only the general wind speed but also the general wind direction. 

  • Wind Vane 

A wind vane also known as the weather vane or a weathercock is an instrument which is used to determine and show the direction in which the wind is moving. 

Instruments Used to Measure Rainfall

The instrument which is used to measure rainfall is the Rain Gauge. We also have a snow gauge which along with the rain gauge is used to measure the precipitation. In this section, we will discuss the most common instrument used to measure rainfall, which is the rain gauge. 

A rain gauge is used to gather and measure the amount of liquid precipitation that is the rain in a predefined area and over a set period of time. The main purpose of the instrument is to determine the depth of precipitation, thereby measuring the amount of rainfall in that area. 

The setup includes a collection container attached to a measuring scale and is set in an open area. The precipitation is measured in terms of the height of the precipitation water collected in that container per given time and is usually expressed in millimetres. 

Sample Questions

State whether the statements mentioned below are correctly stated or not. 

1. Rainfall is equivalent to precipitation. 

Ans: False, precipitation can be of different types, one of which is liquid precipitation that is rainfall, other than that we also have snowfall which comes under precipitation. 

2. A barometer is used to measure the atmospheric pressure. 

Ans: True. 

3. Using present day technology, we can determine both the speed and direction of wind. 

Ans: True. 

Complete the statements that follow by filling in the blanks.

4. A hygrometer is used to measure ________ in an area. 

Ans: humidity. 

5. The speed and direction of the wind can be measured by an instrument known as _________. 

Ans: windsock 

6. A thermometer is used to measure the temperature of _______ and _________. 

Ans: air, sea surface


Meteorological instruments are weather instruments which are used to measure different parameters which determine the weather around us. There are several different types, some of which we discussed in this article such as thermometer, barometer, anemometer, hygrometer, rain gauge, windsock, etc. A rain gauge is an instrument used to measure the liquid precipitation (rainfall) in a predefined area, over a set period of time. 

FAQs on Uses of Meteorological Instruments

1. Weather is measured in which unit?

Usually while determining the weather, we mainly talk about three parameters, which are the temperature, the precipitation, and the wind speed. The temperature is measured in Degree Celsius, the precipitation in millimetres, and the wind speed in metres per second. 

2. Can we measure the clouds? If yes, which instrument is used to measure the clouds?

Yes, we can also measure the clouds. The instrument used to measure clouds in the sky is a Ceilometer. It uses laser or other light sources to determine the height of the cloud base and it can also determine the aerosol concentration in any certain cloud. 

3. What are the seven elements which are usually measured to determine the weather in an area?

The primary elements and atmospheric conditions which help us determine the weather are precipitation, humidity, temperature, pressure, cloudiness, and wind speed and direction.