Meteorological Section 2003 - 2004

Philip Eden

The automatic weather-recording station continues to function satisfactorily, and no calibration drift has been identified during the last 12 months or so - no re-calibration or other servicing was required. Occasional manual readings (averaging once every two weeks) were taken to confirm the readings from the AWS. There were no interruptions to the operation of the station at all during the year.

In November 2003 I contacted the Met Office to determine whether they had any interest in accessing data from the station on a daily basis, in addition to receiving the regular monthly reports which they have had for the last 95 years. To my surprise they said yes, and two of their technical staff visited the site earlier this year to discover whether any changes needed to be made to the instrumentation, modem, or comms software. Little progress has been make since then, but the project is still “on”. We get two things out of the proposed relationship: our phone bills paid, and all routine maintenance and servicing carried out free.

The HSS website now has a link to the Hampstead section in my own weather information site. So far I have added daily and monthly pages covering the last eighteen months, and yearly summaries going back to 1961. This represents substantial progress on this time last year, and no doubt future additions will appear in fits and starts.

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

SUMMER 2003 … the centrepiece was the early-August heatwave when the temperature climbed above 28ºC daily for almost a fortnight, reaching 35ºC on August 6, and 36.8ºC on August 10 … a new record for Hampstead. The summer as a whole was the warmest since 1976, but notwithstanding the August drought, it was neither very dry nor very sunny.

AUTUMN 2003 brought many contrasts. September was very dry and sunny, and it was unusually warm by day, though rather cold at night. The drought continued until the last few days of October, although October itself was the coldest for ten years. November was an unsettled, mild, and often windy month, and the second half was exceptionally wet with almost 60mm of rain falling during 48 hours over the penultimate weekend. (That’s a month’s worth in two days.)

WINTER 2003-2004 was slightly colder than most recent winters, and there were brief cold episodes in all three months, bringing appreciable snow in late-January, and again at the very end of February. There was also an exceptionally mild week at the beginning of February when the temperature reached 16ºC.

SPRING 2004 was mixed … a cool but dry March followed by a warm and wet April … then May after a dismal first week turned out to be dry, warm and sunny.



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Last updated   18-Oct-2004