Weather station data available to all

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The success of any meteorological observations and climate investigation depends upon the availability of reliable data. This task will be greatly assisted by the International Surface Temperature Initiative (ISTI), which has just released a databank of more than 30,000 station records, many with histories extending to more than 100 years.

The data from each station comprises a set of monthly mean temperatures and each station record has passed extensive quality control checks to eliminate erroneous or duplicate data.

The geographical locations of the 30,000 weather station records held in the ISTI databank
The geographical locations of the 30,000 weather station records held in the ISTI databank.
The colour of the dots shows the length of the station record, with many records exceeding
100 years (red) and some even exceeding 200 years old (black).


The release represents the culmination of three years of international efforts bringing together meteorological, metrological, and statistical experts. The data bank allows people to make their own analyses of Earth's recent climate using quality-assured data.

The databank's creation and structure is described in a paper published in Geoscience Data Journal: The international surface temperature initiative global land surface databank: monthly temperature data release description and methods

NPL Temperature scientist Michael de Podesta has sat on the ISTI steering committee since the initiative's inception. NPL is also one of the partners in the European Metrology Research Programme (EMRP) funded joint research project Meteomet, which has shared goals and close links with ISTI.

The Meteomet project focuses on the traceability of measurements involved in climate changes: surface and upper air measurements of temperature, pressure, humidity, wind speed and direction, solar irradiance and reciprocal influences between measurands. It aims to bring sound measurement practices to both ground-based and airborne measurements for both climate research and weather forecasting. The project brings together meteorologists, climatologists and metrologists with the aim of promoting measurement traceability and realistic treatment of uncertainty, as well as novel measurement and calibration approaches.

NPL's involvement in this work was funded by the EMRP, which has successfully funded a new selection of projects each year since 2009 to address issues from health and industrial innovation to the redefinition of the SI units of measurement. The proposed €600 million European Programme for Innovation and Research (EMPIR) is designed to build on the success of the EMRP, leading to even greater impact.

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