Weather stations

The Met Office has a weather station network across the whole UK, with more than 200 automatic stations.

These weather stations measure a large variety of different meteorological parameters, including air temperature; atmospheric pressure; rainfall; wind speed and direction, humidity; cloud height and visibility.

Stations are usually around 40 km apart, enabling us to record the weather associated with the typical low pressure and frontal systems that cross the UK.

Weather stations - hourly observations

UK weather station locations

Weather station sites

Weather station sites are selected to ensure that the observations are representative of the wider area around the station and not unduly influenced by local effects.

Ideal site

  • Level ground.

  • No trees; buildings, or steep ground nearby that might influence the measurements.

Undesirable site

  • Warming effect of buildings on the measurement of temperature

  • Sheltering or shading effects of trees on the measurement of sunshine and wind.

  • Frost hollow where overnight temperatures on still clear nights may be far lower than at neighbouring locations.

  • Top of a hill or steep escarpment where winds will be unrepresentative of the wider area.

What happens to the weather station data?

Measurements of all the elements are automatically logged at the weather station. Each weather station produces observations at minute intervals, from all sensors. The data are then transmitted to a central collecting system based at our headquarters, at Exeter, where the data are passed through numerous quality control checks.

Do you have a weather station at home?

We're planning to enhance our weather observations network by inviting everyone who has a personal weather station, manual or automatic, to send your data to a new website.

We hope this will appeal to schools, amateur meteorologists, and weather enthusiasts across the UK.

This extra data will be extremely useful in forecasting and monitoring localised extreme weather events such as heavy snow and rain. This Weather Observations Website is being developed by the Met Office in partnership with the Royal Meteorological Society and the Department for Education.

You can view, register and login to the website by following the 'Explore WOW' link on the Invent section of the website: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/pws/invent/

Last updated: 14 February 2011