By Andy Hacket Pain
We hear a lot in the news about climate change, with global scale trends and predictions . This large research effort is underpinned by the historic data for climate change, some of which, for the UK at least, is held by the Met Office.
Much of the primary data is publically accessible, and you can access it from the Met Office website. It is interesting to use the historic weather station data to look back at the climate of your local area over the last few decades; the length of the records vary but some go back over a hundred years.
An easy way to access the data is to copy and then save the data as a .txt file (using Windows notepad for example), then import the data into a spreadsheet from this file. The data is formatted so that you can easily insert column breaks where needed – your data import wizard should guide you through this.
The data can easily be sorted into months allowing you, for example, to look at temperatures for August (as in the graph above). The results for most locations show a clear warming trend over the last few decades, but also the high variability in climate on a year to year basis. For example, in 1997 in Cambridge, the mean maximum temperature in August (i.e. the mean warmest daily temperature across the whole month) was 26.3°C, but the following year was nearly 4°C cooler.
Have a look around the rest of the website too- there is a lot of interesting material.