Friday, 28 October 2011

article - Archives show year of winter blooms (Nottinghamshire)

Recent record-breaking temperatures may have surprised those of us ready for chilly autumn weather but they are nothing compared to the year Britain's summer flowers were in bloom at Christmas, records in Nottinghamshire show.

This October we have seen deckchairs on the beach, gritters on stand-by and warnings of floods but in 1607, under the reign of James I, many summer buds decided to open, weather archives have shown.

The unusual data has been revealed in the Central England Weather Series, which begins at 56BC in the era of Julius Caesar, and is housed at Nottinghamshire County Council's archives service.

It is the work of retired meteorologist Jim Rothwell, 80, who donated the collection to the archive service in 2008.

He said: "The records show that the warm weather in October that we have witnessed this year is not unique. All sorts of unusual weather has occurred during all of the seasons in central England in the past.

"The direction of wind plays a big part in the weather situation. People are alert to unusual weather patterns at the time they happen, but do tend to forget these exceptions as time goes on."

Mr Rothwell, who lives in Archers Field, in Southwell, Nottinghamshire, is a fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society, on the editorial board for the journal Weather and worked for the Met Office for 38 years as a forecaster.

On his retirement in 1989, he turned detective to begin to piece together the comprehensive weather study for central England. He said Central England is defined as almost a geographical 'pear shape' with Leicestershire at the centre.

Mr Rothwell said it takes in the area of central England which is largely flat and not disturbed by hills, as hilly areas can vary and skew temperature records. Central England therefore stretches from the north Midlands to Winchester and London in the south.

Mark Dorrington, team manager of archives and local studies at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: "This is a fantastic and comprehensive record of weather in Central England and we are privileged to have it in our archives. The weather is always a fascination for people and this collection of records is a hidden gem, so we are delighted to let people know it is available."

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