Guide to 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.

This guide 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.

Please note this guide is not intended to be an exhaustive list of all the materials in the collections. The Exeter archive in particular holds a wide variety of other specialist data sets and collections ranging from an extensive archive of rare books to polar expedition data. There are also some specialised collections in our Scottish archive including data from the Northern Lighthouse Board. You can search our online catalogue to view details of our full collection for England, Scotland and Wales. Note that the archives for Scotland are held in Edinburgh at either the Met Office, Saughton House or the National Records of Scotland (NRS) and archives for Northen Ireland are held at Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI). 

In addition to records for England and Wales the archive in Exeter also holds a large amount of International Data. This relates mainly but not exclusively to countries which have, or have had, an element of British Governmental involvement.

1. RETURNS, REGISTERS, LOGS AND SUMMARIES — COLLATED DATA 

Daily Registers 

Climatological Returns 

Lustrum forms 

Ship, light vessel and light house logs

Rainfall cards 

Ten year rainfall books

Daily Weather Summaries 

Monthly Weather Summaries 

British Rainfall 

2. PRIVATE WEATHER DIARIES

3. AUTOGRAPHIC RECORDS

4. CHARTS

5. FORECAST INFORMATION