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Archive collections

Daily weather chart

Examples of what we hold in our archive collection:

  • The original Beaufort Scale.

  • Weather reports for the UK, every day from 3 September 1860 to the present.

  • Weather reports from around the world.

  • The great early writings on meteorology from such pioneers as Aristotle to Robert Boyle, Francis Bacon and Luke Howard, in our collection of historical meteorological literature maintained in co-operation with the Royal Meteorological Society.

  • Marine weather logbooks - worldwide records from merchant and Royal Navy ships, including those from historic voyages such as of the HMS Prince of Wales when she attacked the Bismarck in WW2.

  • Registers of meteorological observations and autographic records for approximately 1,000 sites - dating back to the mid-19th century. These cover temperature, wind, rainfall, solar radiation, snow and sunshine.

  • Upper-air data from radiosonde and pilot-balloon ascents.

  • The earliest weather diary is from Rye (Sussex) for 1730-33.

  • Historic images.

A guide to understanding and using our data collections

The Met Office archive collections hold a vast range of historical weather information. You can use and understand many of the types of record held in our collections without extensive meteorological knowledge or an expert on hand to help you but they can seem complicated because of the specialised terminology that is used. There are a number of standard record formats which you will find in all of our collections and some of these are easier to use and understand than others.

We have produced a guide to our data collections which is is intended to help you understand what each of these record types is, decide which records would be most useful to you for the research you want to carry out and discover what you need to do next in order to see the records themselves. Images of different record types have been included to help you understand what you might expect to see. Guide to NMLA Data Collections

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