Meteorological observations and instruments

Physics, First Cycle
Educational Physics
2 year
Hours per week – 2. semester:

Enrollment in year 2.

Passed problem-solving examination is a prerequisite for the theoretical part of the examination.

Content (Syllabus outline)

Introduction into meteorological measuring systems. Description of all kinds of meteorological observations, measurements and data handling. Description and classification of classical measuring instruments. Review of codes for data exchange and basic tools of meteorological data handling.

Introduction to meteorological observations. Classification of observable elements meteorological and clouds. Observations of atmospheric phenomena and cloud classification. Observation of meteorological elements and tasks at synoptic meteorological station.

Introduction to satellite meteorology. Configuration of meteorological operational and research satellites, description of instruments- 3_d sounding of the atmosphere. Introduction to interpretation of meteorological images and applications of soundings.

Introduction to radar meteorology. Principles of weather radar, description of its parts and physical principle of measurement. Sources of errors in precipitation measurements.

Other remote sensing instruments. Acoustic sounders for vertical profiles of meteorological variables, review of instruments using scattering and reflection of light (lidar, ceilometer).

Introduction to metrology. Before starting with measurements and instruments students should obtain principles of metrology – the standards, methods of calibrations, traceability of standards (etalons).

Measurements at the ground. Description of classical meteorological instruments and their physical principles, review of random and systematic errors. Description of electronic meteorological and hydrological sensors and systems of sampling and data handling.

Principles and sources of errors.

Atmospheric sounding. Basic principles of sounding, modern systems of sounding.

Special measurements in meteorology. Micrometeorological, agrometeorological measurements, paleoclimatology.


selected chapter from:

WMO: Guide to meterological instruments and methods of observation. Geneva : World Meteorological Organization, reprinted in 1996 (ISBN : 9263-16008-2)
WMO: International cloud atlas, Volume IManual on the observation of clouds and other meteors. Geneva : World Meteorological Organization, reprinted in 1995 (ISBN: 92-63-10407-7). Volume II (plates). Geneva : World Meteorological Organization 1987 (ISBN: 9263-12407-8)
Fred V. Brock, Scott J. Richardson: Meteorological measurement systems. New York : Oxford University Press, 2001
HMSO: Handbook of meteorological instruments. 2nd ed. London : Her Majesty's Stationary Office, 19801982

Gareth W. Rees: Physical principles of remote sensing, 2nd ed., Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2001 (ISBN 0-521-66034-3)

Objectives and competences

Getting basic knowledge on meteorological observations and measuring instruments. Physical principles of instruments and standard configurations of meteorological measuring stations. Standards for international exchange of data.

Intended learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding:

Principles of measurements and observation in meteorology. For understanding is knowledge on basics on meteorology a prerequisite.


The obtained experience serves for proper design of measuring networks and measurements, as well as for critical evaluation of quality of the measured data.


Transfer of general principles of metrology and measurements in physics to measurements in the atmosphere and in soil and to remote sensing.

Transferable skills:

General principles of metrology and measurements in physics.

Learning and teaching methods

lectures, problem-solving exercises (15 hours), laboratory tutorials (30 hours)


1 written test applied towards the problem-solving (or a seminar evaluated as 9 or 10), theoretical examination.

Lecturer's references
  1. SKOK, Gregor, BACMEISTER, Julio T., TRIBBIA, Joe. Analysis of tropical cyclone precipitation using an object-based algorithm. Journal of climate, ISSN 0894-8755, 2013, vol. 26, iss. 8, str. 2563-2579.
  2. ŽAGAR, Nedjeljka, HONZAK, Luka, ŽABKAR, Rahela, SKOK, Gregor, RAKOVEC, Jože, CEGLAR, Andrej. Uncertainties in a regional climate model in the midlatitudes due to the nesting technique and the domain size. Journal of geophysical research, Atmospheres, ISSN 21698996, 2013, vol. 118, iss. 12, str. 6189-6199
  3. SKOK, Gregor, TRIBBIA, Joe, RAKOVEC, Jože. Object-based analysis and verification of WRF model precipitation in the low- and Midlatitude Pacific Ocean. Monthly weather review, ISSN 0027-0644, 2010, vol. 138, no. 12, str. 4561-4575
  4. SKOK, Gregor, VRHOVEC, Tomaž. Considerations for interpolating rain gauge precipitation onto a regular grid. Meteorologische Zeitschrift, ISSN 0941-2948, 2006, 15, str. 545-557.
  5. VRHOVEC, Tomaž, RAKOVEC, Jože, GABERŠEK, Saša, SKOK, Gregor, ŽABKAR, Rahela, GREGORIC, Gregor. Relief shapes and percipitation on the south side of the Alps, Part 2. Heavy-rain cases during MAP and sensitivity to topography modifications. Meteorologische Zeitschrift, ISSN 0941-2948, 2004, 13, str. 201-208.