Registers provide observation data for a range of weather ‘elements’ such as temperature, rainfall or wind direction.
These are specially printed notebooks, varying from pocket size to A3 over time. The registers were completed by trained observers and were produced at locations with a manned Met Office station in the UK and overseas. A station was any location at which meteorological observations were taken either by a member of Met Office staff or by one of the many volunteer observers that assisted us in the past. Typically registers will provide the following elements: temperature, pressure, wind direction and force, cloud type, height and amount, visibility and weather and daily maximum and minimum temperature, rainfall totals and general remarks. ‘Decodes’ are often present in the front of the registers to help you interpret the information and further assistance will be found in our factsheet 17 ‘Weather Observation on Land’.
The number of observations (obs) per day varies depending upon the strategic importance of a station at any one time. Registers for early periods, usually before World War Two, will have fewer regular observations but in general the minimum number of observations will be one every three hours during the day and many stations will have more frequent observations than this.
The image above shows a page from a daily register.
Most useful for
The registers are extremely useful if you want detailed information on the meteorological characteristics of a day or a short period for or close to a specific location.
Things to bear in mind
The station network has changed dramatically in extent over time and you may not always find a station very close to the location you want to know about. The number of elements recorded and the regularity of observations also varies greatly between stations and also can vary over the life of an individual site. Regular observations every day fill books quickly therefore there are quite a number of books for each station. If you request to view registers from several stations for an extended period this will equate to a large volume of material and may be difficult to bring from storage. You might be better to look at the Climatological returns instead.