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Standards Weather the Storm…and the Sunshine!


Whether lacing up snow boots in New York or slipping on sunglasses in Arizona, Americans rely on weather forecasts to help them prepare for the day ahead. Many standards assist meteorologists in determining the forecasts that are broadcast into our homes each morning.

Weather forecasts are developed using data about the current state of the atmosphere combined with meteorological concepts to predict how the atmosphere will present in the future. One of the primary measurements familiar to even amateur meteorologists is temperature, determined using thermometers. ASME B40.200-2008, Thermometers, Direct Reading and Remote Reading, is a standard that provides definitions, testing, and construction and safety issues of certain thermometers, including bimetallic actuated, filled system, and liquid-in-glass thermometers, as well as thermowells and elastic temperature sensors. This standard was developed by ASME, a member and accredited standards developer of the American National Standards Institute.

Another tool critical to analyzing weather conditions and developing a forecast is an anemometer, which measures wind speed. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) provides specifications for anemometers in its standard ISO 17713-1:2007, Meteorology - Wind measurements - Part 1: Wind tunnel test methods for rotating anemometer performance. This standard describes wind tunnel test methods for determining performance characteristics of rotating anemometers, specifically cup anemometers and propeller anemometers.

A second ISO standard applies to sonic thermometers and anemometers, which employ the inverse time measurement for the velocity of sound along differently oriented paths. ISO 16622:2002, Meteorology -- Sonic anemometers/thermometers -- Acceptance test methods for mean wind measurements, is applicable to designs measuring two or three components of the wind vector within an unlimited (360) azimuthal acceptance angle. Both ISO standards were developed by Technical Committee (TC) 146, Air Quality, Subcommittee (SC) 5, Meteorology. ASTM, an ANSI member and audited designator, administers the U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to TC 146 and SC 5, carrying U.S. positions forward to ISO.

Most forecasts provide information for comfort and convenience, but occasionally forecasts will predict dangerous weather conditions that must be broadcast quickly and effectively. ANSI/CEA 2009-B-2010, Performance Specification for Public Alert Receivers, defines the minimum performance for consumer electronic products that receive emergency weather alerts through the Specific Area Message Encoding protocol (SAME). This system transmits information on the predicted weather event, the areas affected, and the estimated duration of the event. With these devices, such as weather radios and home weather stations, Americans can be more prepared for tornados, floods, storms, and other dangerous weather patterns.

With standards in place to assist in weather prediction and forecast transmittal, Americans can stay warm, dry, and safe all year long.


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


[email protected]

Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


[email protected]