Meteorological Section 1998-99

The Meteorological Secretary was pleased to be able to report another satisfactory year as far as our meteorological section is concerned, - not just in the continuation of our daily observations of temperature, rainfall and so on, but also because we have made considerable progress towards establishing our automatic weather recording station. Our aim has always been to complete this before the end of our centenary year, and he was confident we shall do this.

Throughout the year he has again had the reliable assistance of Geoff Shelley who has carried out more than one-third of the observations during that period. We have now completed 89 years of daily weather recordings at the Observatory, with the prospect of completing 90 years come the middle of December.

We have not quite been able to maintain our clean sheet on breakages and thefts this year; at the time of the observatory break-in in March, some minor damage was done but this was secured within a few days, and then in May a thermometer vanished, presumably stolen.

Our ambition of installing an automatic weather-station at the observatory during our centenary year is still on course, thanks especially to donations to the meteorological equipment fund. This new equipment will allow us to monitor temperature, humidity, rainfall, ground temperature continuously, we may also be able to install sensors for barometric pressure and solar radiation this year. My aim is to install and commission the weather station by the end of September.

Now a quick look at the weather of the last twelve months:

SUMMER 1998 was not as bad as the media made out. June was certainly poor, July was average, and August was actually quite good with a week-long heatwave - we had seven consecutive days of 25 degrees C or more between August 5 and 11, and two days of 29 degrees C, and there was only one day with rain between August 3 and 21.

AUTUMN 1998 was very wet, the only wetter autumns in the last 25 years being those of 1987, 1992, 1993. October was particularly wet, although not as wet as October 1987. Mean monthly temperature was above the long-term average in September, about average in October, and significantly below the average in November.

WINTER 1998-99 was very mild, although not as warm as the winter of 97-98. Only tow of the last 12 winters have had a mean temperature below the average for the standard reference period of 1961-90. Frost occurred rarely, and the temperature climbed to 15 degrees C on January 6, equalling our January record. December and January were both rather wet, but February was a dry month.

SPRING 1999 continued the warm theme, the only spell of colder than average weather lasting about a week in the middle of April when there were a couple of days with heavy snow showers. May ended with a spell of hot thundery weather; the temperature reached 25 degrees C on Saturday May 29, but the heat was followed by a ferocious thunderstorm which deposited 10.5mm of rain in half an hour.


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Last updated by Julie Atkinson   18-Aug-2002