The results of the Great British Weather Experiment

Wednesday 27th Oct 2010 by theWeather Club

The Great British Weather Experiment was launched on 13th September 2010 by theWeather Club. The experiment aimed to track the onset of autumn across the British Isles by asking schools and members of the public to take weather observations over the course of a month and record them at theWeatherClub.org.uk. This was one of the largest weather experiments in Britain, with over 2,000 observations collected between 13th September and 13th October.

Autumn is one of the most interesting seasons of the year. To many people, the season is defined by the leaves changing to the vibrant yellow, orange and red colours. Sometimes there are other more subtle indicators, such as the height of the sun in the sky - people comment about the 'autumn colour' in a reference to light and shade, as the sun is much lower in the sky than in the summer. Astronomers define autumn by the equinox, which fell on 23rd September, while meteorologists define autumn as the months of September, October and November, meaning that for them, the season officially starts on 1st September.

The Great British Weather Experiment was set up to provide a detailed picture of the country's weather during the transition into autumn. The results provided a vivid indication of just how varied the UK's weather can be during this transition. Over the course of a single month, we saw torrential rain, beautiful clear skies, sub-zero temperatures, balmy Indian Summer days, 100mph winds and thick fog. But perhaps the most remarkable thing about the results is the fact that, despite these seemingly dramatic variations, they weren't actually all that unusual at all. Although some of the individual observations were at the outer limits of what we expected, the overall pattern was fairly typical for Britain at this time of year. The impression we are left with is that of a small country that manages to squeeze in an extraordinary variety of weather conditions over a very short space of time.

  • The highest recorded temperature during the experiment was 24.8°C at Peace Haven, East Sussex.
  • The lowest recorded temperature during the experiment was -4.4°C at Tyndrum, Stirling early on 26th September, and Kinbrace, Scotland early on 27th September.
  • The highest rainfall total occurred at Lytham St Annes, Lancashire which recorded 79.8mm on 19th September
  • The strongest gust of wind recorded was 102mph at Cairngorm, Scotland on 15th September.
  • The highest barometric pressure reading was 1020.5mb on Orkney on 25th September.

The other major impression that we have been left with came from the public enthusiasm we encountered during the experiment. The willingness of individuals and schools to painstakingly records data over the course of a whole month was remarkable, and opens the door for other more focussed weather experiments to be carried out by theWeather Club in the coming months and years.

Comments

An excellent start to the Weather Club's activities; congratulations and thanks to Liz and her colleagues for all their hard work in getting the Club off the ground in such a successful fashion. However, how many of the reports are from weather entusiasts and how many from 'members of the public'?. Not many of the latter will have anemometers! Looking forward to more such experiments.
Posted by John Wilson on Wed, 27 Oct 2010 12:54:40 +0000
I'd like to echo John's comments. Congrats to one and all, and likewise I'm looking forward to the next assignment
Posted by Richard Ware on Wed, 27 Oct 2010 13:20:49 +0000
Congratulations to Liz and colleagues for a job well done. Such varied weather across the country and on a day like to day where here in Hook, Hampshire the temperature reached 17.2C at 3pm. with a humidity of 68%. It felt positively barmy!
Posted by Nick Gadd on Wed, 27 Oct 2010 21:17:50 +0000
As per Nick, Richard and John I also thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the experiment and I look forward to the next one. Great work by the team - well done!
Posted by Kevin Jones on Thu, 28 Oct 2010 21:30:21 +0000
Another email received today (31st Oct) says this:
"......including regional snapshots of Autumn across the breadth of the UK, members photos, comments and recordings please click here".

I have duly clicked on more than one occasion but I can't see any of those 'regional snapshots' or members' photos. Are they secreted away somewhere in a dark corner of the Flickr Gallery? I've had a quick trawl through the said gallery but I haven't found what I'm expecting to see. Am I missing the obvious?
Posted by Richard Ware on Sun, 31 Oct 2010 14:42:56 +0000
calendar wild wather