Watching the weather
Watching the weather

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Watching the weather

1 Recording the weather: from the surface

For well over a century, formal observations of the prevailing meteorological conditions have been recorded at official weather stations around the globe. In the early days the information was chiefly gathered by the military, ever mindful of the risk that even the most carefully devised strategy is at the mercy of short-term changes in the weather. It is hard to imagine that forecasting success rates were high for more than a few hours ahead, so military discipline and scientific curiosity may have been essential for keeping the observation networks going in the early days. In addition to supplying data for forecasting, records of past weather are an important input into climatology.

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