Meteorology is a science that studies the phenomena in the atmosphere.
The main areas of research are the factors that determine the weather, such as air temperature, humidity, cloud cover, precipitation and wind. Meteorology tries to find out which rules and laws the weather phenomena obey, so that one can explain the weather that occurs. To gain insight into the weather and its changes, observations must be made continuously. In the Netherlands this is done by, among others, the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI). Meteorological observations can be made with or without instruments. Observations that are still often made without instruments are estimating the cover ratio, estimating the cloud height and visibility. Instrumental observations are made using the thermometer (temperature), barometer (air pressure), psychrometer (humidity), hygrometer (relative humidity), anemometer (wind speed), rain gauge (precipitation), and sun recorder. Meteorology can be studied in the Netherlands at the universities of Wageningen and Utrecht.
Aristotle’s work Meteorologika has remained a meteorological standard for about 2000 years. It was not until the 17th century that meteorology could develop further with the invention of the barometer and thermometer. The oldest meteorological observation series date from that time, eg those of Delft (1705) and Zwanenburg (1735). In the 19th century a network of observatories was created, so that the measurements over a large area could be related to each other. Telegraphy and radio allowed for rapid dissemination of weather reports and contributed to the development of meteorology in the 20th century.
The radiosonde (invented in 1927) and the use of weather satellites are of great importance for expanding the knowledge of the higher air layers.
To a limited extent, future developments in the atmosphere can be calculated with electronic calculators.
Meteorology is concerned with the study of:
1. the temperature relationships in the atmosphere, both in the layer near the earth’s surface and in the higher air layers, with the main factors being: radiation, conduction, conve ction and advection;
2. the air pressure and its changes;
3. the water vapor present in the atmosphere, which plays a role in the formation of clouds, fog and precipitation;
4. atmospheric electricity;
5. the chemical composition of the atmosphere;
6. the general circulation, determined by the air movements, which are brought about by the differences in air pressure and by the vertical temperature gradient in the atmosphere. Certain interrelated changes of the meteorological elements manifest themselves in weather changes. Description and study of the phenomena and developments of the weather occurring in large areas of the earth belong to general meteorology. Synoptic meteorology studies the weather phenomena that occur at the same time in a large area with the main purpose of weather forecasting.
Within meteorology, which is part of geophysics, sub-areas can be distinguished: aerology, climatology, microclimatology, boundary layer meteorology, aviation meteorology, agricultural meteorology, biometeorology, maritime meteorology.
List of Acronyms Related to Meteorology