After the excitement of last year when we finally saw the installation of our new automatic weather station, this year has seen the smooth operation of the new equipment which is now providing us with hourly observations of temperature, humidity, rainfall total and intensity, solar radiation, sunshine hours, and ground temperature. Instead of 365 or 366 observations to tabulate manually, we now have 8760 observations every year (with 8784 in a leap year).
We have now completed one year with duplicate observations from the old equipment, and comparisons have shown no significant differences between the two sets of readings once the fundamental offset was identified. From now I will continue to make 4 or 5 such observations per month, enabling me to keep tabs on the calibration of the automatic equipment and to identify any calibration drift before it becomes serious.
We have had some contact from the Environment Agency who have expressed some interest in installing a gauge of their own at our site, in compensation for which they have indicated that they would install, at their expense, a telephone line. This would enable me to download data to my own computer without having to move from my office.
Now a quick look at the weather of the last twelve months:
SUMMER 2000 was not as b ad as the media made out. All three summer months were drier than average, and there were several hot days in the third week of June, the third week of July, and at intervals throughout August. Sunshine, however, was in short supply during the first half of the summer, although from mid-July onwards we had rather more sunshine than usual.
AUTUMN 2000 was an extraordinary season. The first half of September was largely dry, but the rains set on on September 13, and from then until early December the longest dry spell lasted three days. It was, in fact, the wettest autumn at Hampstead since our records began in 1909, with a rainfall total for the season more than twice the long-term average.
WINTER 2000-2001 was the coldest for four years and there were several light snowfalls, notably just after Christmas when 5cm of snow covered the ground for 4 days. It was wetter than average, although the season's rainfall was nowhere near a record. However, the six-month total from September to February inclusive was higher than any equivalent period in our records.
SPRING 2001 was the coolest for five years. March was particularly cold and wet, and April continued the wet theme although rainfall was less than in April last year. May brought a welcome change, being drier, sunnier and warmer than average.
Last updated by Julie Atkinson 18-Aug-2002