Monday, 9 April 2012

News - Nottinghamshire weather records available to view

Nottinghamshire basked in sun last month - but the region was actually warmer during March 1990, the year Pavarotti shot to fame during the football World Cup, says a weather expert.

Southwell-based Jim Rothwell (FRMetS), a Fellow of the Royal Meteorlogical Society, and former MET office forecaster, hit the headlines last year for compiling Central England’s most comprehensive record of weather data – stretching back to Roman times.

His record, the Central England Weather Series, is kept in the Nottinghamshire County Council archives service and details hundreds of interesting weather events and facts and figures sourced from history books, the MET office, weather journals and other historic sources such as the writings of Samuel Pepys.

And while hundreds of people enjoyed the unseasonally warm afternoons during March here in the region, Jim says the monthly mean temperature was 8 degrees C. Yet, in 1990 the mean temperature for March was warmer in the region at 8.5 degrees C.

Jim’s comprehensive records show that the highest temperature recorded in March this year was 20.5 degrees C, but this was eclipsed by a recording of 23 degrees C on March 9, 1948. Jim said: “People’s interest in the weather never wanes, especially when we appear to have unseasonal weather. It was a warmer month than normal last month but the mean temperature was compromised because while we had a lot of hot afternoons there were also a number of ground frosts in the mornings.

“It is quite interesting to note that the average temperature in the region was actually higher in 1990 than this year in March.

“The weather never ceases to amaze with the advent of snow in Scotland this week after a week of warm weather. But again, rapidly changing conditions have been witnessed before. For example, just two weeks before the highest weather for the region was recorded in March 1948 there had been snow on the ground.”
Jim (80) is on the editorial board for the journal Weather and worked for the Met Office for 38 years as a weather forecaster.

On his retirement in 1989, he turned detective to begin to piece together the most comprehensive weather study there is for central England.

In his time at the Met Office he spent ten years as a weather observer at College of Aeronautics at Cranfield in Bedfordshire, and also spent some years at the research unit at Cardington, near Bedford, for climate research. It was his job to advise the RAF on when to fly by forecasting the weather. He was also the expert weather forecaster for filming of the 1965 James Bond classic Thunderball, where the Vulcan bomber was filmed at RAF Waddington Airfield.

Mark Dorrington, Team Manager 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.”

The records (Ref: DD1963) can be consulted at Nottinghamshire Archives, Castle Meadow Road, Nottingham, NG2 1AG on Tuesday 9am-8pm, Wednesday, Friday 9am–4.45pm and Saturday 9am–12.45pm.

They are freely accessible to anyone with a valid Archives reader’s ticket which can be obtained by providing proof of identity and address.


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