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Instruments and classification scales

Sets of surface measurements are important data to meteorologists. They give a snapshot of a variety of weather conditions at one single location and are usually at a weather station, a ship or a weather buoy. The measurements taken at a weather station can include any number of atmospheric observables. Usually, temperature, pressure, wind measurements, and humidity are the variables that are measured by a thermometer, barometer, anemometer, and hygrometer, respectively.[63] Professional stations may also include air quality sensors (carbon monoxidecarbon dioxidemethaneozonedust, and smoke), ceilometer (cloud ceiling), falling precipitation sensor, flood sensorlightning sensormicrophone (explosionssonic boomsthunder), pyranometer/pyrheliometer/spectroradiometer (IR/Vis/UV photodiodes), rain gauge/snow gaugescintillation counter (background radiationfalloutradon), seismometer (earthquakes and tremors), transmissometer(visibility), and a GPS clock for data logging. Upper air data are of crucial importance for weather forecasting. The most widely used technique is launches of radiosondes. Supplementing the radiosondes a network of aircraft collection is organized by the World Meteorological Organization.

Remote sensing, as used in meteorology, is the concept of collecting data from remote weather events and subsequently producing weather information. The common types of remote sensing are RadarLidar, and satellites (or photogrammetry). Each collects data about the atmosphere from a remote location and, usually, stores the data where the instrument is located. Radar and Lidar are not passive because both use EM radiation to illuminate a specific portion of the atmosphere.[64] Weather satellites along with more general-purpose Earth-observing satellites circling the earth at various altitudes have become an indispensable tool for studying a wide range of phenomena from forest fires to El Niño.