Foundations of Meteorology

Robert FitzRoy, founding father of the Met Office, established the discipline of scientific meteorology in the 1850s however his work built on foundations that been laid over the preceding centuries. The term meteorology was first used by Aristotle in the fourth century BC and whilst much weather lore is unreliable in terms of its scientific accuracy there were nevertheless some elements which were so accurate that they were still quoted in meteorological text books into the twentieth century.  The National Meteorological Archive holds early editions of many seminal scientific works alongside a range of key private papers from individuals such as Beaufort and Howard. In these pages we feature some of the key books and documents the provided the building blocks for the development of meteorological science.

  • Rare Books - texts by many of the most outstanding scientists and meteorologists of their times
  • The Beaufort Scale - extracts from the private weather diaries of Sir Francis Beaufort, including the Beaufort Scale and Battle of Trafalgar
  • Weather Lore - a brief guide to weather lore 
  • Bottle Papers - used by the Admiralty and the Met Office to understand the direction and speed of currents in the worlds oceans
  • James Glaisher - now the star of Hollywood Movie ‘The Aeronauts’, the real story behind this pioneering meteorologist and aeronaut is equally as fascinating.