Apologies for having another go but isn’t the digitising of rainfall records like these the responsibility of the UKMO? What have they been doing for the last 50 years since the introduction of mainframe computers and databases to digitise these records? No one, especially Jonathan Amos ever seem to raise that obvious question, even though he is a journalist, his remit seems to be stick to the science and never get controversial. The Rainfall Rescue Project is all very laudable but it shouldn’t be necessary at all if the custodians of our climate data had been doing their job right. Instead of spending it on ever more expensive and faster supercomputers and shrinking the observing and upper air network as they have over the last 30 years, when they should have been digitising and preserving the climate data that’s been collected over the last 200 years.
What about today’s climate data?
When looking at the graph displaying the estimated number of rain gauges across the country in the BBC article, it’s obvious from the graph that the number of rain gauges has been steadily declining to less than half of how many there were in 1980. The paradox is that in recent years we have many thousands of AWS scattered across the country – we probably have far more ‘unofficial’ gauges than we have ever have – but where is all that digitised climate data that they collect ending up?
I know that many people uploading their climate and observational data to the WOW project, but I wonder what process if any is in place to preserve and use that data? Obviously the big problem with any rainfall data from an AWS is that it’s not from a standard 5″ copper gauge like many of the Victorians used, and that the exposure of the AWS itself may be far from standard.
It may be that in the future we look back at these days, like we are at the digitising of paper records, and regret not making a bigger effort to collect the climate data that’s already digitised from the thousands of AWS across the country – or it maybe that there are already plans in place to make use of the WOW climate data they collect – I don’t know.