Weather data for research and projects

Do you need weather data for a project/research? If so, please read on.

From time to time I receive requests for UK weather data from users for a variety of purposes. The three main purposes tend to be those relating to (1) academic research, (2) school project work, and (3) research of a commercial nature.

I am willing to help with any request insofar as I am able using one or more of the following:

  • Data from the Climatological Observers Link (COL) (mostly monthly values, but I can put you in contact with local observers for more detailed (daily) observations). Click here for a small subset of what is available each month.
  • Data from my own archives of 6-hourly decoded synoptic reports - data from this can be viewed here and can be see in an 'English language format' here.

I am able to give away small amounts of such data at no charge for any bona-fide research but may make a charge for commercial requests. The location of most COL stations can be seen here.

However, such data are limited in their scope. COL data goes back about 40 years with about 300 stations reporting per year in recent years. The synoptic reports go back to about 2007 and cover about 150 stations - with some gaps.

Another source of data is the Centre for Environmental Data Analysis (CEDA), who hold an extensive archive of UK surface observations from the Met Office.

As many of these are Met Office datasets they are available - for free - to any academic research - i.e. they don't have to be UK based or University-NERC funded. The key thing is that it isn't commercial or for private use, and ideally CEDA would like users to be publishing their results in openly available literature (usually peer reviewed journals but theses are also acceptable).

There are two main datasets that probably contain what many people need for their studies.

In particular, there are the MIDAS Open data which are made available by the Met Office under the Open Government Licence, though not as timely (annual release to the end of the previous year) as the MIDAS (monthly updates) or MetDB (daily updates, 48 hours in arrears) data.

CEDA can be contacted as follows
CEDA User Support
Tel:    01235 446432 

Please mention that you found out about CEDA via these pages.

Note that a registration form may need to be completed before data can be released by CEDA.

From personal experience, most users will be interested in observations of quantities such as daily maximum/minimum temperatures, rainfall, sunshine, air pressure and wind speed.

When making any request to myself, please be as specific as possible. Mention the period that the data should cover, the station(s) for which the data are required, whether extreme (eg. daily high and low) values, climatological averages or continuous data (i.e. every 6 hours) are needed. All too often I get requests along the lines of "Can I have temperature data for London?..."

Regardless of the source of the data that you use, due credit should be given to the source of the data in any report or publication that may result.

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