The Met Office holds an extensive archive of weather observations from thousands of different locations around the UK.
The number of stations operating at any one time, the methods of observation and the surroundings of individual sites have all changed over the years - making the interpretation of these data a complex and challenging task. Collectively these weather records comprise our best available description of the climate of the UK.
The National Meteorological Library and Archive hold original manuscript records dating back to the 1730s. A significant number are also held electronically. This computer database contains all of the climate records since 1959, plus a proportion of earlier data. See a selection of station records.
In addition to the records from individual observing stations, the Met Office also maintains several time series calculated from the station records, which are used to monitor the climate of the UK at a regional and national level. There are two main types of series - the Met Office UK Climate series and the Met Office Hadley Centre series.
Data from every available observing station in the UK are used to create our best estimate of the 'true' average for the UK, its countries and regions.
|1910||UK and regional gridded temperature and precipitation||monthly|
|1929||UK and regional gridded sunshine duration||monthly|
|1961||UK and regional gridded weather variables, e.g. frost, cloud cover, wind||monthly|
The gridded monthly data used to create the series can be downloaded free of charge for research purposes only.
These time series are used to post information on the UK climate and weather statistics page.
The Central England Temperature series (HadCET) and the United Kingdom Precipitation series (HadUKP) have been developed to study changes in our climate. They are calculated using a limited set of carefully selected stations so that the data are comparable over time.
A consequence of using a smaller sample of stations is that the series exhibit greater variability. Provisional values are produced as near to real time as possible with final values issued after data quality-control. The HadCET and HadUKP are calculated differently as described below.
|1659||Mean Central England Temperature||monthly|
|1772||Mean Central England Temperature||daily|
|1878||Maximum and Minimum Central England Temperature||daily and monthly mean|
A project is running to merge the HadUKP and the Met Office UK Climate series. The outcome will be a single historical series for the UK. If you would like further information about this project, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
|1766||England and Wales||monthly|
|1873||Five sub-regions of England and Wales||monthly|
|1931||Scotland, three Scottish sub-regions and Northern Ireland||monthly|
|1931||England and Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and eight sub-regions||daily|
Alexander, L.V. & Jones, P.D., 2001: Updated precipitation series for the U.K. and discussion of recent extremes. Atmospheric Science Letters.
Gregory, J.M., Jones, P.D. & Wigley, T.M.L.,1991:Precipitation in Britain: an analysis of area-average data updated to 1989.International Journal of Climatology,11,331-345.
Jones, P.D. & Conway, D.,1997:Precipitation in the British Isles: an analysis of area-average data updated to 1995.International Journal of Climatology,17,427-438.
Manley, G.,1953:The mean temperature of central England: 1698-1952.Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society,79,242-261.
Manley, G.,1974:Central England temperatures: monthly means 1659 to 1973.Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society,100,389-405.
Parker, D.E., Legg, T.P. & Folland, C.K.,1992:A new daily central England temperature series, 1772-1991.International Journal of Climatology,12,317-342.
Parker, D. & Horton, B.,2005:Uncertainties in central England temperature 1878-2003 and some improvements to the maximum and minimum series.International Journal of Climatology,25,1,173-1,188.
Perry, M.C. & Hollis, D.M.,2005:The generation of monthly gridded datasets for a range of climatic variables over the UK.
International Journal of Climatology,25,1,041-1,054.
Wigley, T.M.L., Lough, J.M. & Jones, P.D.,1984:Spatial patterns of precipitation in England and Wales and a revised homogeneous England and Wales precipitation series.Journal of Climatology,4,1-25.
Wigley, T.M.L. & Jones, P.D.,1987:England and Wales precipitation: a discussion of recent changes in variability and an update to 1985.Journal of Climatology,7,231-246.
Last updated: 5 December 2013