Meteorological Section 1999 - 2000

Philip Eden

This has been a landmark year in so many ways for the Society ... and for the meteorology section in particuar, because we have achieved our objective of setting up our automated weather recording station during our centenary year. Last year I said I was confident of achieving this ... what you didn't see was that I had my fingers firmly crossed behind my back as I said it. In the end I was mildly disappointed that we weren't quite able to have the station up and running at the beginning of the year 2000, but a change of personnel at Campbell Scientific who supplied the instrumentation delayed things several weeks, and they finally turned up on January 26. Sicere thanks to everyone who contributed to the fund which enabled us to get there in the end. I am still learning how to use the software which allows the data to be examined and analysed and summarised, and otherwise manipulated, but I have brought my laptop to show some of the information we are getting to anyone who's interested. Before too long, I hope, a summary of the data will go on the web site.

Meantime, the human observations have continued, and will do so for at least two years so that we have a good overlap period in order to ensure that our long unbroken record - 90 years now - remains homogeneous. Throughout the year I have again had the reliable assistance of Geoff Shelley who has carried out more than one-third of the observations during that period, and the AGM allows me to thank him formally for his efforts. And I want to thank both Geoff and Peter Wallis for foregoing a Sunday morning to help clean the screen adn cut the grass before the AWS installation.

No breakages or thefts this year, although the clock in the old recording rain-gauge seems to have succumbed to old age; that happened at the beginning of May this year. The Met Office have not yet provided a replacement, nor are they able to tell me when they might replace it, but they assure me they will eventually do so. March 22 saw our three-yearly Met Office inspection which we passed with flying colours. They've presented us with a certificate congratulating us on 90 years co-operation (that's what they call giving them daily climate data for next to nothing) with the Office.

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

SUMMER 1999 was mixed; an average June was followed by a very warm and very dry July, the temperature climbed to 31 degrees on August 2nd before thunderstorms broke the heatwave, and 10 days of extremely unsettled weather followed, sadly spoiling the eclipse for most of us. Hot weather returned at the end of August.

AUTUMN 1999 was also very mixed. September was a month of two halves - the first half exceptionally hot and sunny, the temperature almost reaching 28 degrees on the 11th, the highest so late in the month for over 50 years, the second half was exceptionally wet and dull. October was very sunny with a two-week dry spell mid-month, while November was dry, quite sunny and rather mild.

WINTER 1999-2000 was also exceptionally sunny, and it was also generally mild and dry. There was a little snow around December 19-21, but nothing else, and frosts although quite frequent were generally slight.

SPRING 2000 returned to the mixed theme. March was very dry, with just 22mm of rain - less than half of the long-term mean, while April was unusually wet with 123mm - almost three times the long-term mean, and the wettest in our 90-year long history, beating the record which was set only two years ago. May had a bite at both cherries, very dry and warm until mid-month with 26 degrees recorded on the 15th, followed by a very wet and cool second half. 16mm of rain fell during the first half and 92mm in the second half.



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Last updated by Julie Atkinson   18-Aug-2002