Global temperature records - a way forward

13 May 2010

Hot weather can have an effect on the health of some peopleIn February, scientists from the Met Office called for a new international project to modernise global temperature records.

Published this week in Nature, Peter Stott from the Met Office and Peter Thorne, now of the NOAA Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites in North Carolina, USA, explain why this is necessary and how it might work.

They argue that it is now essential for the climate community to gather all local daily and sub-daily temperature measurements into a single global database in a transparent and comprehensive way. Results would then show temperature changes on an hourly level, within distances of a few kilometres and such fine-scale data are critical for monitoring and predicting local climate effects.

The project will build on more than 6,000 detailed weather observations held on existing databases. The plan, endorsed by the World Meteorological Organization earlier this year, will take shape following a workshop in September to refine details and agree developments.

External link icon View the Nature article


  • The WMO Commission for Climatology meeting in Antalya, Turkey from 19 to 24 February 2010 endorsed the proposal brought by the UK for a major international collaboration to produce a land-surface air temperature dataset at daily and sub-daily resolution.

  • Climatologists representing over fifty countries were present at the meeting.

  • Plans are well advanced for the initial workshop to be held at the Met Office HQ in Exeter in early September 2010.

Last updated: 13 April 2016

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