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UK weather station records now freely available to all: MIDAS Open

Measurements of historical weather variables across the UK are now freely available to all, through the Met Office “MIDAS Open” dataset held at CEDA. This new dataset is an open data version of the popular Met Office Integrated Data Archive System (MIDAS) for land surface station data (1853-2017). MIDAS Open contains UK weather observations for the UK that can now be accessed by everyone, rather than restricted to academic use as in the full MIDAS dataset. We anticipate this to be particularly useful for researchers, service providers or members of the public who have previously been unable to use MIDAS data.

The key differences for MIDAS Open, compared to the fuller MIDAS dataset, include:

  1. It is limited to UK land, surface site data only (no global sites, upper air or marine observations). Currently this represents approximately 95% of available daily temperature and weather observations, 83% of hourly weather data, and 13% of daily rainfall within the full MIDAS collection.
  2. The collection include surface site data from stations owned, operated or run by Met Office as part of the public weather service. The wider MIDAS provision include sites operated by or on behalf of others, but these will still be available for research-only use through the full MIDAS.
  3. The data are formatted in BADC-CSV making them more user friendly.
  4. The directory structure makes it easier to find specific variables, sites and time periods.
  5. Each year a versioned release will update with the latest data (e.g. 2018 data will be available in summer 2019) and additionally include late arriving data or new data that is added in for old time periods (e.g. new data for 1950s has been added in recently).
  6. It’s open access, but you will still need to register as a CEDA user (anyone can do this in a couple of simple steps). This is so we can gather more useful download statistics for the data.

MIDAS Open comprises of hourly and daily weather measurements and observations of parameters relating to temperature, rainfall, sunshine, radiation, wind and weather observations such as present weather codes, cloud cover, snow etc.

The MIDAS data are currently used by a wide range of academic users. One example is for solar panel (photovoltaic) research undertaken by Dr Diane Palmer from Loughborough University. Diane uses ground measurements of global horizontal irradiation data from weather stations in the MIDAS data. “Without the ground measurements held at CEDA, I would need to use satellite data and conduct very different research. The archive allows me to easily access the data I need” said Diane. She uses these data to produce national solar profile maps to study the impact of solar panel generation on the National Grid. Her research also helps identify suitable locations for solar farms and rooftop systems. Installation of renewable energy resources, such as solar panels, helps to combat greenhouse emissions and reduce fossil fuel dependence - ultimately helping to tackle climate change. Diane’s research, which relied on MIDAS data held at CEDA, has been used by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to inform government policy. The list of Diane’s publications produced using MIDAS data are below for further reference.

The new open access MIDAS dataset will allow further applications and uses of the data - by many users who could not previously access the data under the restricted licenses. If you already use MIDAS data for your research, or you are planning to use the new MIDAS Open data, we’d love to hear from you about how you use it and for what. Please fill in our form here, it will take less than 10 minutes and help us to gather evidence of the impact CEDA services have on researchers and wider society.

Image: Met Office weather station site in the UK. 

 

1) Diane Palmer, Ian Cole, Tom Betts, Ralph Gottschalg, 2017, Interpolating and estimating horizontal diffuse solar irradiation to provide UK-wide coverage:  selection of the best performing models, Energies, Special Issue “Solar Photovoltaics Trilemma: Efficiency, Stability and Cost Reduction 2017”, 10, 181; doi:10.3390/en10020181, URL: http://www.mdpi.com/1996-1073/10/2/181

2) Diane Palmer, Elena Koubli, Ian Cole, Tom Betts, Ralph Gottschalg. Satellite or ground-based measurements for production of site specific hourly irradiance data: Which is most accurate and where? Solar Energy, Volume 165, 1 May 2018, Pages 240–255, URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.solener.2018.03.029

3) D. Palmer, E. Koubli, I. Cole, T. Betts and R. Gottschalg, 2016, Comparison of Solar Radiation and PV Generation Variability: System Dispersion in the UK, IET Renew. Power Gener., Volume 11, Issue 5, 12 April 2017, p. 550 – 557, DOI:  10.1049/iet-rpg.2016.0768 , Print ISSN 1752-1416, Online ISSN 1752-1424, URL: http://ietdl.org/t/iJLSVb

4) Diane Palmer, Elena Koubli, Tom Betts and Ralph Gottschalg, 2017, The UK Solar Farm Fleet: A Challenge for the National Grid?, Energies 2017, 10(8), 1220; doi:10.3390/en10081220, URL: http://www.mdpi.com/1996-1073/10/8/1220

5) Palmer, Diane; Betts, Thomas; Gottschalg, Ralph, 2018, The future scope of large-scale solar in the UK: site suitability and target analysis, Renewable Energy, URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.renene.2018.08.109

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