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Summer Science Exhibition 2016 | Monday 4 July - Sunday 10 July | London

Getting a measure of the weather

Hands-on at the exhibit

  • Fly a chuck glider and see how we use aircraft to measure wind.
  • Take a look at other opportunistic observing systems.  
  • Make a weather observation using the Weather Observation Website.  

Find out more

Reliable weather forecasting saves time, money and lives, and weather maps have to provide ever more localised information to meet the nation’s needs. Our exhibit highlights the varied and surprising observation systems that may be harnessed to improve forecasting into the future.

Accurate weather forecasting is important for you and your family, for emergency planners, and for businesses. We want it to answer questions such as: “Do I need an umbrella on the walk to school?”, “Will tonight’s rain be a flood risk?” or “Is now a good time to conduct maintenance on our oil rig?”. Observations are critical for weather forecasting, but we currently have fewer than 500 ground observation sites to cover over 500,000 grid points in our UK map! To increase our observation power cost-effectively we’re looking in unconventional places. For example, modern aircraft continuously measure atmospheric wind and temperature to inform flight adjustments. But these soaring observation sites could also provide vital data to improve the accuracy of weather forecasting.

Contribute your own weather observations at

Presented by: Met Office