Meteorological Section 2002 - 2003

Philip Eden

The automatic weather-recording station continues to function satisfactorily, and no calibration drift has been identified during the last 12 months. Regular manual readings (averaging once per week) were taken to confirm the readings from the AWS. There were no interruptions to the operation of the station at all during the year.

Towards the end of 2002 we installed a phone line and in December 2002 a modem was acquired to enable the remote interrogation of the system. The software was changed just before midnight on December 31 so that the logger now logs every five minutes instead of hourly. As a consequence, it is now possible to construct graphs of temperature, humidity, rainfall, barometric pressure and radiation which appear to show continuous monitoring of each element.

From April 2003 work has been proceeding - in desultory fashion depending on time available - to develop some web-pages with data from the last few months, and these pages should be linked from the HSS website in the near future. The long-term intention is to put summaries of Hampstead's weather data all the way back to the beginning (i.e. 1909). The ambition is to try to do this by 2009 - to mark the weather station's own centenary.

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

SUMMER 2002 was rather warm, but also wet, and with a marked shortage of sunshine. The meam maximum temperature of 21.2C was 0.3 degC above the mean for the standard reference period 1971-2000. Rainfall during the June, July and August totalled 267.5mm which is 68 per cent above normal, and a remarkable storm hit Hampstead on the early evening of 7th August, dropping 70mm in an hour. Sunshine totalled 481 hours, some 12 per cent below normal.

AUTUMN 2002 was a season of contrasts. An exquisite September was followed by an execrable late-autumn; the rains finally set in on October 13. The mean maximum temperature for the three autumn months was 15.0C, exactly 1 degC above the long-term mean. Rainfall was 291mm, 63 per cent above, while the aggregate sunshine of 292 hours was just one per cent above.

WINTER 2002-2003 began with a gloomy and often very wet December, but both January and February were sunny. A snowstorm on the afternoon of 30th January led to gridlock on roads throughout London and the Home Counties. The mean maximum temperature for the season of 7.4C was 1.2 degC above normal, the total rainfall of 251 mm was 41 per cent above, and the sunshine total of 232 hours was 49 per cent above.

SPRING 2002 was exceptionally dry, sunny and warm. The temperature reached 25.1C on 16th April, the highest for that month since 1949. Taking the quarter as a whole the mean maximum temperature of 15.0C was 2.3 degC above normal, the rainfall of 88mm was 43 per cent below, and the sunshine total of 529 hours was 20 per cent above.



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Last updated by Julie Atkinson   27-Aug-2003