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Met Office UK climate series

Met Office UK Climate series

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Update January 2020: The UK climate series have been recreated from the HadUK-Grid dataset. Users who wish to cross-reference against the legacy dataset can access the previous versions here.

Data from every available observing station in the UK are used to create our best estimate of the climate statistics for the UK, its countries and regions.

  • Individual station data are used to estimate monthly values at 1 km grid points, taking into account factors such as topography, i.e. hills and valleys, and land use, i.e. urban or rural. This is the HadUK-Grid dataset.
  • The 1 km grid values are then averaged over areas including: the entire UK; individual countries, e.g. Wales or Scotland UK climate districts map and counties.
Start dates
1862 Rainfall monthly
1862 Maximum, Minimum and Mean temperature monthly
1929 Sunshine duration monthly
1961 Weather variables, e.g. days of frost monthly

Met Office Hadley Centre series

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.

The Central England Temperature series (HadCET)

  • These series are representative of an area from the south Midlands to Lancashire.
  • Series are produced for maximum, minimum and mean temperature - both daily and monthly.
  • Data from a small number of stations are used, since 2007 the core network comprises Rothamsted (Herts), Pershore (Worcs) and Stonyhurst (Lancs).
  • Any effects of urbanisation are minimised by comparison with nearby rural stations.
Start dates
1659 Mean Central England Temperature monthly
1772 Mean Central England Temperature daily
1878 Maximum and Minimum Central England Temperature daily and monthly mean

The UK Precipitation series (HadUKP)

  • The HadUKP series is available for the combined area of England and Wales; five sub-regions of England and Wales; Scotland; three sub-regions of Scotland; and Northern Ireland
  • The series is produced using a limited number of selected stations, currently approximately 80, or about 3% of those used to produce the Met Office UK Climate series.
  • The series is produced for both daily and monthly figures.

Several years ago a project was completed which merged the HadUKP and Met Office UK Climate Series (Simpson and Jones, 2012). The dataset up to and including 2011 may be downloaded although this is currently not the operational version of HadUKP. 

Start dates
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

Further Reading

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.

Hollis, D, McCarthy, MP, Kendon, M, Legg, T, Simpson, I. 2019: HadUK‐Grid—A new UK dataset of gridded climate observations. Geosci Data J. 2019; 6: 151– 159. https://doi.org/10.1002/gdj3.78

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.

Simpson, I. R. and Jones, P. D. 2012, Updated precipitation series for the UK derived from Met Office gridded data. International Journal of Climatology, 32: 2271–2282.

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.

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