For twenty years between 1883 and 1904, three intrepid weathermen lived at the top of Ben Nevis – the highest mountain in the UK – experiencing some of the worst weather the country has to offer.
Every hour, day and night, winter and summer, and whatever the weather, one of them would step outside and check the meteorological instruments, diligently recording the observations.
This was a uniquely Victorian-era endeavour. Science for the sake of science. Rather than exploring the world’s polar regions like some of their contemporaries, these Weathermen were exploring the atmosphere.
There was simply no other way of learning in detail about how the atmosphere changed with height without living at the top of a mountain. So that is what they did.
Continue reading Weathermen of Ben Nevis
There had been speculation that record low temperatures would be coming to the United States in early December, and this had been framed as either evidence against global warming in general or that cold air outbreaks are increasing due to climate change.
World Weather Attribution (WWA) presents a quantitative study of this cold air outbreak. WWA researchers compute how rare the outbreak was and how it is affected by human-caused greenhouse gases. The analysis uses the same methods as WWA used in the peer-reviewed analysis of the cold extremes in the Midwest in the winter of 2013 – 2014 (van Oldenborgh et al, 2015). Continue reading U.S. Deep Freeze, December 2016
Was last year really the warmest on record? As soon as NOAA published its official announcement in January, this question invaded the web feeding blogs, online newspapers and forums with passionate discussions. Relevant or pointless? The question is not so much knowing whether or not a new record was broken. Should 2014 rank second or third, this wouldn’t change the big picture: last year, temperatures on our planet continued the existing long-term positive trend. On top of that, the story is a bit thicker than the one single number obtained when averaging near-surface air temperatures in time and space. So, 2014: year of extremes or warm year in a changing climate?
Guest post by François Massonnet, Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium / Catalan Institute of Climate Sciences, Spain Continue reading Extremes of 2014 in review
2014 was a warm year for much of Europe and the globe, and may end up being the warmest year on record globally. But, no-one experiences a global mean temperature directly, so how about more locally? Can the signal of a warming climate be seen?
Continue reading Central England Temperature in 2014
Ideally, we would have observations of past weather everywhere for several centuries to reconstruct the state of the atmosphere and learn about its variability. But, we don’t.
Instead, all the observations ever taken would, ideally, be available digitally for everyone to use. But, they aren’t. Many past observations are buried in hand-written journals and logbooks, gathering dust in libraries and archives all over the world. Rescuing this data would be of great benefit to reconstructing past weather, as this example will show. Continue reading Improving the weather from 96 years ago
It’s December, which means the usual discussion as to whether or not it will be a white Christmas. You can even bet on it. But, how might these odds change in future? Are children going to know what snow is? Continue reading The future of white Christmases
A recent article on the BBC website said:
The UK has experienced its “weirdest” weather on record in the past few months, scientists say.
The question today is then, is this true? Continue reading How "weird" has UK weather been in 2012?
Previous posts have described some initial analysis of the data from the Old Weather project, which is using public volunteers to digitise new historical weather observations from Royal Navy ships during World War 1. The good news is that these observations will improve our knowledge of the atmospheric circulation. Continue reading The value of old weather observations