Met Office extends climate data series

The Met Office has finally extended it’s gridded climate data series for temperature and rainfall. The temperature series now starts a full 26 years earlier in 1884 rather in 1910, and the rainfall series now commences in 1862, that’s 48 years earlier than it did before. I don’t think I missed any news story or fanfare that heralded the release of this new data from the Met Office, perhaps that’s still to come. I only happened to stumble on the fact that it had happened because my application I use to download and visualise it failed to parse the new larger data files when I tried to view the latest January 2020 data yesterday.

To me, and anyone interested in freely available climate data for the UK this is very welcome news, and all I can say is that it’s about time, because I reckon the phrase “when records began in 1910” must have been grating to anyone that heard it down in the climate section at Exeter, especially when detailed rainfall records exist in the British Rainfall Organisation records back to 1860, and temperature data in the form of the Daily Weather Report is also available from 1860 as well. Who knows, perhaps they outsourced the digitising of these two publications to India. The digitising of these records is something that the Met Office should have been doing ever since the advent of databases and mainframe computing at Bracknell in the 1970’s, but they preferred to keep them squirreled away as paper records gathering dust down in the library.

These annual charts of temperature and rainfall for the UK are absolutely brand new thanks to the data that’s been added. All I would urge the Met Office to do is continue to extend their gridded climate data series back as far as possible, but don’t forget sunshine, which lamentably starts as late as 1929 at the moment.

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