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Treasure 27: City of Aberdeen Meteorological Records
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Treasure 27: City of Aberdeen Meteorological Records

Historic Documents
Léa Moreau
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Treasure 27: City of Aberdeen Meteorological Records
Historic Documents
Treasure 27: City of Aberdeen Meteorological Records
The state of our weather is a regular topic of conversation whether it's a lovely sunny day or a dark, dreich day. November brought the first snow of the season to Aberdeen in 2015 so we have taken this opportunity to look at historical weather records in our collections and see if our winters used to be warmer, colder, snowier, or wetter than today's!

This table of weather statistics for December 1925 is contained in a large volume of titled 'City of Aberdeen Meteorological Records'. The records were obtained from Aberdeen University Observatory, King's College by the Medical Officer of Health (MOH), Dr Matthew Hay, for publication in his Monthly and Yearly Reports on the Health of the City.

Although this volume covers the period from January 1900 until the Monthly Records were discontinued in September 1931, Dr Hay also included meteorological data in his earlier reports and the later MOH annual reports also contained summaries of the data.

The University Observatory was created around 1868 on the upper storeys of the Cromwell Tower. The Meteorological Observer was William Boswell until 1902. He was succeeded by George Aubourne Clarke the following year. Their equipment included a telescope, thermometer screen and an anemometer. The Observatory was one of the Government's Meteorological Office weather stations and was taken over by the Air Ministry in 1921 but closed down in 1947.

The data in each table includes temperature, relative humidity, rainfall (snow or hail is indicated by the letters S or H), hours of sunshine, and wind direction and velocity.

This table from December 1925 shows that there was some snow in the first and third week but both Christmas Day and Hogmanay were the two sunniest days of the month with between 3 and 4 hours of sunshine each.

Today we are used to regular weather forecasts broadcast and printed in the media. The official body responsible for weather forecasting in Britain is the Met Office. Their website at http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/ provides not only current forecasts and explanations of weather phenomena but also historical information on Britain's weather.

Check this link to see how many times there has been snow at Christmas in Aberdeen between 1942 and 2007. Aberdeen experienced 15 White Christmases as snow fell on 25 December. The likelihood of snow falling - and lying - in December has decreased in recent years due to the effects of Climate Change. Nowadays, Britain is much more likely to experience snow between January and March.
Meteorological records
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