Climate and climate change

Synoptic and climate stations

The map shows the current network of synoptic and climate stations covering the UK.

The map shows the current network of synoptic and climate stations covering the UK.

UK weather stations report a mixture of snapshot hourly observations of the weather known as synoptic observations, and daily summaries of the weather known as climate observations.

For instance, hourly temperature is a synoptic element, but daily maximum and minimum temperature are climate elements; cloud is synoptic but sunshine is climate. The climate observations are made at 0900 in winter, 1000 in summer, with some sites making a further observation at 2100, 2200 in summer.

A few sites send in hourly climatic observations. Observations from around 270 UK synoptic stations are collected in real time; climate data from synoptic stations also comes in straight after readings are taken. However, climate observations from around 170 co-operating observers come in as collectives at the end of the month.

All climate stations record daily maximum and minimum air temperature and rainfall amount, recorded over the period 0900-0900 period (1000-1000 in summer).

Many observe additional elements. The representativity of urban observations to the surrounding urban area can be difficult to judge, and so their data need to be used with caution. Some observations in urban areas are made on roof tops.

UK Historic Stations Map