Meteorology is the study of the atmosphere and it's interaction with earth's surface. Ever since there have been people on earth, it has been someone's job to figure out the weather. In 340 B.C., Aristotle began studying the phenomena of clouds, rain, snow, wind, thunder, hail, and hurricanes. Simple weather instruments began being used in the 1600‘s
. Now, weather forecasting is very sophisticated. Nearly every tv station has weather stations that include traditional weather instruments, as well as computers and satalites.
Millions of people, every day listen to the weather forecast. Some need to know what the weather will be like for their job, such as farmers, pilots, and fisherman. Others want to know because of camping, hiking, picnicking, or other outdoor activities.
Weather instruments have a long, rich history that may be charted against the growth of science itself. The advent of weather instruments was a time when inventors could be experts in many scientific fields---Galileo, for example, helped lay down the framework for modern astronomy but also found the time to experiment with thermometers. Starting with a mere idea, the design of these specialized instruments graduated to robust theory, experimental application and progressive refinement over time.
History of Weather Knowledge For most of human history, weather predictions had to be made using pure observation. Babylonians attempted to predict short-term weather changes based on the appearance of clouds and optical halos, and Aristotle wrote a philosophical treatise called "Meteorologica" that included detailed theories on the formation of rain, clouds, lightning and many other weather-related phenomena. It was not until the Renaissance that weather instruments were finally invented through the gains of technological advancements and the formulation of accurate theories about the weather. In the 20th century, more refined technology like weather balloons and Doppler instruments helped to make weather measurement quicker and more accurate.
Hygrometers One of the first known designs of the hygrometer was written down in approximately 1450 AD by Nicholas of Cues, who described how to measure the humidity of air. An early hygrometer was built by Leonardo da Vinci and later in 1663 by Robert Hooke, using a piece of hair that contracted or expanded depending on the degree of humidity present. Inventions in 1783 by Horace-Bénédict de Saussure (who used human hair) and in 1820 (when J. F. Daniell used ether in glass tubes) refined the hygrometer.
Thermometers Thermometers were progressively developed over time by inventors such as Cornelius Drebbel, Robert Fludd, SantorioSantorio and, most notably, Galileo Galilei, who in 1592 invented a thermoscope that reacted to changes in temperatures. In 1612, Santorio put a scale on the thermometer so that it began to resemble its more modern permutations, but it wasn't until 1714 that Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit replaced the alcohol in thermometers with mercury and developed a more accurate measurement, later to be followed by Anders Celsius and Sir William Thomson (who invented the Kelvin scale) with their own measurements of temperature.
Barometers Evangelista Torricelli is credited with inventing the barometer in 1643 to measure air pressure, but both Giovanni Battista Baliani in 1630 and René Descartes in 1631 had postulated a version of the barometer even earlier than that. GasperoBerti, who had heard from Galileo about the design written down by Baliani, attempted to experiment with water in a vacuum between 1639 and 1641 to explain why pumps would not draw water above a certain height. Torricelli, however, approached it from a different angle and recognized that air had weight; he also recognized that mercury in a barometer was a suitable replacement for water. Years later, Blaise Pascal and Florin Périer refined the design.
Anemometers Anemometers, which measure wind speed, were first described by Leon Battista Alberti in 1450, but the most familiar kind, the cup anemometer, was invented in 1846 by Dr. John Thomas Romney Robinson. The design was refined up until the 20th century: In the 1960s and 1970s, anemometers that used lasers or sonar to measure wind speed were developed.