Posted on December 17, 2018 (Last modified on October 19, 2023) • 3 min read • 468 words
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The CEDA archive has published a valuable new dataset this week, called HadUK-Grid. This dataset, provided by the Met Office, is a collection of gridded climate variables derived from the network of UK land surface observations. What makes this dataset notable is that it spans a long time-series (1862-2017) and is freely available to download from our archive.

Some of the observations underwent a ‘rescue mission’ where they were digitised from historic weather station records. These observations have been collated to generate values on a regular grid from the irregular station network, taking into account factors such as latitude and longitude, altitude and terrain shape, coastal influence, and urban land use. Variables include air temperature, precipitation, sunshine duration, mean sea level pressure, wind speed, relative humidity, vapour pressure, days of snow lying, and days of ground frost.

The density of the station network used varies through time, and for different climate variables — for example, for the temperature variables the number of stations rises from about 270 in the 1910s to 600 in the mid-1990s, before falling to 450 in 2006. The station observations used to produce the grids have undergone a quality control process which corrects or removes erroneous data. The gridded data sets are based on the archive of UK weather observations held at the Met Office.

But why use gridded data, like HadUK-Grid? Some advantages include:

  • regional values can be produced for any arbitrary area (county, unitary authority, river catchment, etc.) with greater accuracy and consistency
  • they facilitate the creation of contoured or colour-shaded maps, e.g. of 30-year averages
  • they can be combined with other spatial data, such as transport routes, to study links between them
  • less reliance on a weather station network that is irregularly spaced and changing with time
  • reliable climate estimates for points some distance from weather stations, e.g. in upland areas
  • a consistent series of climate data, enabling comparisons to be made in time and space
  • a complete series of climate data, without missing values (a problem to which weather stations can be prone)

The primary purpose of these data are to facilitate monitoring of UK climate and research into climate change, impacts and adaptation. Data can be accessed here and more information can be found on the Met Office website.

The data have been created by the Met Office with financial support from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in order to support the Public Weather Service Customer Group (PWSCG), the Hadley Centre Climate Programme, and the UK Climate Projections (UKCP18) project. The data recovery activity to supplement 19th and early 20th Century data availability was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC grant ref: NE/L01016X/1) project “Analysis of historic drought and water scarcity in the UK”.

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