I have a number of obsessions as you’ve probably noticed, most of them can be summed up as weather, climate and blogging. I first started my obsession with climate stats back in 1983 when I took a redundancy package from British Steel, and rejoined the Met Office. That package gave me enough money, the first in a few lean years after the steel strike, to buy a BBC micro computer, and one of the very first applications that I wrote using it was a BASIC program to visualise monthly CET data. The first job was to type in over 300 years of monthly mean temperatures, which took a while. Since then I have written a Windows application that does very much the same thing, but with a few extra bells and whistles. One of the first things I do after starting my PC each day is to download the latest CET from the Met Office, but recently the daily estimated data that I religiously download hasn’t been updated, usually this is for just a day or so, but occasionally it can go on for a week or more. No big deal for most, but it bugs me so I fire of an email and get the usual reply:
Of course, if the Met Office did free up and make their NCM climate data public, then I could calculate the CET values myself, I could add the three numbers up and then divide by three, for the maximum and minimum temperatures.
I can’t afford to pay the Met Office to access the climate daily data for Rothamsted, Malvern (I had always thought it was from nearby Pershore College) and Stonyhurst, which are the three sites that are used to calculate the composite temperature that we know as CET. Knowing my luck, even if I did pay for the service, it would prove to be just as flaky as the present CET system is and fail to deliver that data as well.
I don’t know why I’m that worried so much about July 2017, because I already know that it wasn’t in any way exceptional, and to most people this rant will seem even more petty. But to me, their attitude with CET exemplifies how casually they treat the climate data they collect on our behalf. Sure they share some of the monthly data to comply with the data.gov decree of a few years ago, but the holy grail to anyone interested in climate, is daily data, for all UK sites, both the latest and the archived, and that they jealously guard.
I am afraid it looks like that I’ll be forever beholden to the Met Office for access to the latest CET data.
It’s now four days since the latest estimated CET series was updated, I’m betting that normal service won’t return till at least Monday of next week, we’ll see. Of course very few if anyone at the Met Office will ever read this article, but as far as I’m concerned, one of the main reasons that you write a blog is to get things of your chest, and that I have now done.
I did get some good news from them this morning concerning this problem which I informed the Met Office of in June. It wasn’t wrong as I first though, just a bit misleading, because you don’t always expect Sunderland to turn up in the Lake District even if there is a small hamlet with that name there. Anyway that shouldnt happen again, I’ve been reliably informed.