Focus on Metrology for Meteorology and Climate - Metrologia (2022)

Guest Editor

Andrea Merlone, Istituto Nazionale di Ricerca Metrologica—INRiM, Italy

Focus on Metrology for Meteorology and Climate - Metrologia (1)

Scope

As stated by GCOS 'Long-term, high-quality and uninterrupted observations of the atmosphere, land and ocean are vital for all countries, as their economies and societies become increasingly affected by climate variability and change'. High-quality observation is possible only if based on a sustained traceability to SI and with documented uncertainties associated to the measured values.

Following the signature of the MRA by the WMO , in April 2010, the collaborations between the metrology and the meteorology and climate communities, is growing and motivates joint activities, projects and events. A new cross disciplinary, multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary science which involves metrology experience and techniques to benefit meteorological, environmental and climate observations. Membership and a mutual exchange of expertise is being established among committees working groups and commissions expert teams of the BIPM and WMO.

As an effect of this fruitful interaction, after the first edition of 2014 in Brdo, Slovenia, the 2016 Metrology for Meteorology and Climate Conference was held in Madrid, in conjunction with the WMO TECO World conference and the World meteorological expo. Being in conjunction with the main WMO event in the field of instrument and methods of observation and the largest world meteorological instrument expo, MMC 2016 allowed top level liaisons between the communities. MMC hosted a number of satellite events starting with the ENVRIPlus meeting, allowing metrologists to interact directly with the environmental research infrastructure (ENVRI) community. On 28 the workshop 'Soil moisture measurement: challenges in calibration and metrological traceability' allowed in-depth discussions on how to progress the state of the art in soil moisture measurements and calibrations. Another key event was organized at CEM on 29: the MeteoMet plenary meeting, where the scientific progress of the project was presented and discussed among the members.

The number of participants and their worldwide provenance, the scientific content of the presentations, the number of satellite events and, more in general, the program itself, all made MMC 2016 a relevant event in the panorama of the conferences on measurements for Climate. Participants to MMC 2016 unanimously recognized the conference as having scored well in the scope of mixing in a harmonized balance metrology with meteorology, climate and environmental sciences. A selection of contributions on the advances in this multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary field is presented in this focus issue.

The Conference was closed with the announcement of the next MMC. MMC 2019 will be held in conjunction with Tempmeko and Tempbeijing, where the meteorology and climate community will be invited to join a relevant thermal metrology event, with special sessions on MMC topics. This will clearly represent the MMC vision of bridging the two communities from both respective sides.

Focus issue papers

An improved non-contact thermometer and hygrometer with rapid response

R Underwood et al 2017 Metrologia 54 S9

Open abstract View article,An improved non-contact thermometer and hygrometer with rapid response PDF,An improved non-contact thermometer and hygrometer with rapid response

(Video) MeteoMet: Metrology for Meteorology and Climate

Previously (Underwood et al 2015 Meteorol. Appl. 22 830) we reported first tests of a device capable of simultaneous, non-contact, temperature and humidity (NCTAH) measurements in air. The device used an acoustic thermometer and a tuneable diode laser absorption spectrometer (TDLAS), a combination which should be capable of an extremely rapid response to changes in humidity as it does not require moisture in a solid-state matrix to equilibrate with the surrounding air. In this paper we report recent developments of the instrument focussed on reducing its response time so that it can be used as a reference instrument for assessing the response time of conventional humidity sensors. In addition, the interdependence of the temperature and humidity estimates is now accounted for in real-time using an iterative procedure, which eliminates the need for data post-processing.

The TDLAS measures water molecule number density based on the transmission of an infrared beam (approximate wavelength 1360 nm) through a 0.6 m path length. The acoustic thermometer is based around a fixed-path acoustic interferometer. The improved NCTAH device now produces estimates of the water molecule number density every 20 ms and the temperature output displays an RC filter-like response, with a time constant of approximately 30 ms.

The instrument has been tested in a climatic chamber through a temperature range of  −40 °C to  +40 °C and a dew point range of  −43 °C to  +38 °C, at atmospheric pressure, comparing the instrument readings with those from a calibrated hygrometer and four platinum resistance thermometers. In steady-state conditions, the instrument readings are in good agreement with the conventional sensors, with temperature differences less than 1 °C (repeatability 0.1 °C), and humidity differences mostly within 5% of mixing ratio. Under transient conditions, we demonstrate how the instrument can be used to evaluate the response times of conventional sensors.

Open access

A methodology for study of in-service drift of meteorological humidity sensors

S A Bell et al 2017 Metrologia 54 S63

Open abstract View article,A methodology for study of in-service drift of meteorological humidity sensors PDF,A methodology for study of in-service drift of meteorological humidity sensors

Meteorological measurements of air humidity in ground-based weather stations worldwide are increasingly being used in studies of climate change. However, electronic humidity sensors often suffer gradual drift in sensor readings, particularly at the high end of the relative humidity range. This phenomenon is well known, but there is currently limited quantitative information available about the drift characteristics, and hence about the consequent measurement bias or uncertainty that should be attributed to historical humidity data sets.

In order to quantify weather-station hygrometer drift, a dataset has been studied from UK weather-station hygrometer records supplied by the UK Met Office calibration laboratory. As well as documenting the calibrations and adjustments, the records include 'as-found' checks of the hygrometers on return from field use. This allows average in-service error and drift to be evaluated for the population of instruments.

The approach of the study is presented, together with illustrative initial results quantifying mean sensor drift of up to 5%rh. The implications of this for estimating bias in observations are discussed, along with discussion of associated uncertainty. This includes consideration of the distribution of the data, including the end-limited range where readings are capped at 100%rh. The study results justify the Met Office practice of adjusting hygrometers to minimise the errors in use. Preliminary conclusions and recommendations are made, and further steps are identified for developing the methodology.

(Video) Introduction to Metrology: Measurements, BIPM, SI, traceability, calibration and standards

Selected articles previously published in Metrologia related to metrology for meteorology and climate

Metrological challenges for measurements of key climatological observables: oceanic salinity and pH, and atmospheric humidity. Part 1: overview

R Feistel et al 2016 Metrologia 53 R1

Open abstract View article,Metrological challenges for measurements of key climatological observables: oceanic salinity and pH, and atmospheric humidity. Part 1: overview PDF,Metrological challenges for measurements of key climatological observables: oceanic salinity and pH, and atmospheric humidity. Part 1: overview

Water in its three ambient phases plays the central thermodynamic role in the terrestrial climate system. Clouds control Earth's radiation balance, atmospheric water vapour is the strongest 'greenhouse' gas, and non-equilibrium relative humidity at the air–sea interface drives evaporation and latent heat export from the ocean. On climatic time scales, melting ice caps and regional deviations of the hydrological cycle result in changes of seawater salinity, which in turn may modify the global circulation of the oceans and their ability to store heat and to buffer anthropogenically produced carbon dioxide. In this paper, together with three companion articles, we examine the climatologically relevant quantities ocean salinity, seawater pH and atmospheric relative humidity, noting fundamental deficiencies in the definitions of those key observables, and their lack of secure foundation on the International System of Units, the SI. The metrological histories of those three quantities are reviewed, problems with their current definitions and measurement practices are analysed, and options for future improvements are discussed in conjunction with the recent seawater standard TEOS-10. It is concluded that the International Bureau of Weights and Measures, BIPM, in cooperation with the International Association for the Properties of Water and Steam, IAPWS, along with other international organizations and institutions, can make significant contributions by developing and recommending state-of-the-art solutions for these long standing metrological problems in climatology.

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Metrological challenges for measurements of key climatological observables Part 2: oceanic salinity

R Pawlowicz et al 2016 Metrologia 53 R12

Open abstract View article,Metrological challenges for measurements of key climatological observables Part 2: oceanic salinity PDF,Metrological challenges for measurements of key climatological observables Part 2: oceanic salinity

Salinity is a key variable in the modelling and observation of ocean circulation and ocean-atmosphere fluxes of heat and water. In this paper, we examine the climatological relevance of ocean salinity, noting fundamental deficiencies in the definition of this key observable, and its lack of a secure foundation in the International System of Units, the SI. The metrological history of salinity is reviewed, problems with its current definitions and measurement practices are analysed, and options for future improvements are discussed in conjunction with the recent seawater standard TEOS-10.

Metrological challenges for measurements of key climatological observables. Part 3: seawater pH

A G Dickson et al 2016 Metrologia 53 R26

(Video) The Present and Future of Metrology

Open abstract View article,Metrological challenges for measurements of key climatological observables. Part 3: seawater pH PDF,Metrological challenges for measurements of key climatological observables. Part 3: seawater pH

Water dissolves many substances with which it comes into contact, leading to a variety of aqueous solutions ranging from simple and dilute to complex and highly concentrated. Of the multiple chemical species present in these solutions, the hydrogen ion, H+, stands out in importance due to its relevance to a variety of chemical reactions and equilibria that take place in aquatic systems. This importance, and the fact that its presence can be assessed by reliable and inexpensive procedures, are the reasons why pH is perhaps the most measured chemical parameter. In this paper, while examining climatologically relevant ocean pH, we note fundamental problems in the definition of this key observable, and its lack of secure foundation on the International System of Units, the SI. The metrological history of seawater pH is reviewed, difficulties arising from its current definition and measurement practices are analysed, and options for future improvements are discussed in conjunction with the recent TEOS-10 seawater standard. It is concluded that the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM), in cooperation with the International Association for the Properties of Water and Steam (IAPWS), along with other international organisations and institutions, can make significant contributions by developing and recommending state-of-the-art solutions for these long standing metrological problems.

Metrological challenges for measurements of key climatological observables. Part 4: atmospheric relative humidity

J W Lovell-Smith et al 2016 Metrologia 53 R40

Open abstract View article,Metrological challenges for measurements of key climatological observables. Part 4: atmospheric relative humidity PDF,Metrological challenges for measurements of key climatological observables. Part 4: atmospheric relative humidity

Water in its three ambient phases plays the central thermodynamic role in the terrestrial climate system. Clouds control Earth's radiation balance, atmospheric water vapour is the strongest 'greenhouse' gas, and non-equilibrium relative humidity at the air–sea interface drives evaporation and latent heat export from the ocean. In this paper, we examine the climatologically relevant atmospheric relative humidity, noting fundamental deficiencies in the definition of this key observable. The metrological history of this quantity is reviewed, problems with its current definition and measurement practice are analysed, and options for future improvements are discussed in conjunction with the recent seawater standard TEOS-10. It is concluded that the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM), in cooperation with the International Association for the Properties of Water and Steam (IAPWS), along with other international organizations and institutions, can make significant contributions by developing and recommending state-of-the-art solutions, such as are suggested here, for what are long-standing metrological problems.

https://doi.org/10.1088/0026-1394/53/1/R40

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FAQs

What is metrology and meteorology? ›

Summary. Metrology is the science of instruments and their behaviour. Meteorology is the science of the atmosphere and its phenomena.

What is climate metrology? ›

Metrology provides this confidence – delivering accuracy and reliability for climate and emissions data that governments, regulators and industry can rely on. Metrology enables the effective comparison of data which is often collected and compared over long periods of time and across different locations.

Is meteorology a science? ›

Meteorology is the science dealing with the atmosphere and its phenomena, including both weather and climate.

What is the purpose of metrology? ›

The purpose is to provide accurate and reliable measurements for trade, health, safety, and the environment. Administration of legal metrology activities are performed by or with oversight from governments to provide the appropriate level of reliability and credibility.

What are the examples of metrology? ›

At the device and systems level, applications of metrology include detectors, drug delivery systems, energy sources, filters, imagers, lasers, process control systems, sensors, waveguides etc.

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