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This free course, Watching the weather, describes how meteorological observations are made looking upwards from the surface of the Earth, looking downwards from satellites in space and from aircraft and balloons within the atmosphere. This international network of observations is vital for scientists and forecasters and the results impact on everyones daily activities.
After studying this course, you should be able to:
- demonstrate general knowledge and understanding of some of the basic facts, concepts, scientific principles and language relating to meteorology and weather forecasting, in particular the techniques used to gather meteorological data
- receive and respond to information presented in a variety of ways, including text, tables, graphs, diagrams, computer-based multimedia and websites
- begin to understand how to develop personal learning strategies.
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 Recording the weather: from the surface
- 2 Recording the weather: from the top down
- 3 Recording the weather: filling in the middle
- Keep on learning
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn, track your progress and on completion gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your learning to others. Make your learning visible!
Watching the weather
Measuring and recording the weather is essential for many reasons: to accumulate an accurate record of the past; to provide a picture of what is happening now and a warning of extreme events; and to give the right starting point for predicting the future, in other words a weather forecast. It is also essential to later check those predictions and to improve them. Formal observations have long been recorded at weather stations around the globe and aircraft and satellites are of ever-increasing importance in monitoring the atmosphere. These observations are collated and distributed globally by the World Meteorological Organisation. This course describes how some of these measurements are made and what they can tell scientists about the atmosphere. Meteorology is an observational science and measurements are vital for understanding the weather.
This OpenLearn course provides a sample of level 1 study in
This free course includes adapted extracts from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free Environmental Science courses or view the range of currently available OU Environmental Science courses.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Monday, 21st March 2016
Last updated on: Monday, 21st March 2016
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements and our FAQs section.
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All our alternative formats are free for you to download, for more information about the different formats we offer please see our FAQs. The most frequently used are Word (for accessibility), PDF (for print) and ePub and Kindle to download to eReaders*.
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