London’s weather science – past, present and future:
London has played a leading role in the field of weather science for centuries. Weather observations in London began in 1659, providing one of the longest records of any city in the world. London Climate Change Partnership’s latest report ‘Observing London: Weather data needed for London to thrive’ outlines that improving the quality and access to weather data helps us to better understand and adapt to current and future conditions – ensuring the capital is a resilient and thriving city.
Launching the report today, Professor Chris Rapley CBE, Chair of LCCP said:
“Weather observations have come a long way since the early beginnings, and there is now a wealth of information collected from around 260 weather stations across the city. What needs to happen now is that these data need to be stored and made readily accessible via an online data portal.
“Better and more accessible data will increase our understanding of the patterns of microclimate that the city experiences, enabling us to act to ensure London is thriving and resilient to today’s climate, and tomorrow’s.”
LCCP recognises that the capital is dealing with a changing economic climate as well as an environmental one. The Observing London report highlights that more comprehensive and accessible data will allow businesses to perform more effectively and potentially save money through better planning, but will also provide a catalyst to entrepreneurship – such as the development of mobile applications.
Professor Sue Grimmond (King’s College London), author of the report said:
“We found that although there’s a wealth of data out there, in many cases its quality is not known, inaccessible and unshared. A London Climate Data Portal would channel that data and help us to better understand and adapt to current and future conditions as well as act as a catalyst for new economic applications.”
Derrick Ryall, Head of the Public Weather Service at the Met Office says the recommendations in the report will help improve weather forecasting.
“Our models and forecasts are getting more detailed and so we need more observations in cities, including London. This report shows that there is a lot of data already available, and how free data portals like our WOW website are encouraging everyone from enthusiasts and businesses to schools to join in”.
Neil Smith, Manager of Emerging Risks & Research at Lloyd’s said:
“Lloyd’s is sponsoring this report as we believe that the creation of a single accessible source for weather data in London will help a number of different stakeholders across the city and not least insurers. As highlighted in the report, if we can ensure the continuity of weather stations to facilitate the study of extremes and London’s longer-term climate, this will greatly help our understanding of the impacts and frequency of severe storms, heat waves and floods over longer periods.”
Notes to Editors
1. The London Climate Change Partnership LCCP is the centre for expertise on climate change adaptation and resilience to extreme weather in London. LCCP is comprised of public, private and community sector organisations that have a role to play in preparing London for extreme weather today and climate change in the future. View further details about LCCP’s partners.
2. A full history of urban meteorology in London is featured in Appendix 5 of the LCCP report and illustrates that with more weather stations and improved data, meteorologists (from Luke Howard to work going on today) have been able to better understand the micro climate of London and the impact the urban environment has upon such things as the amount of sunshine, wind speed and temperature.
3. ‘Observing London: Weather data needed for London to thrive’ was funded by LCCP, The Met Office and Lloyd’s of London and written by Professor Sue Grimmond of King’s College London.
4. WOW is the award winning crowd sourced Weather Observations Website supported by the Met Office, the Royal Meteorological Society and the Department for Education – see http://wow.metoffice.gov.uk/
5. The Chair of LCCP, Professor Chris Rapley, is available for interview by arrangement – please contact Juliette Daniels, Partnership Manager for the London Climate Change Partnership: 020 7983 5781, Juliette.Daniels@london.gov.uk
6. The Partnership has produced a number of key reports on the impacts of climate change on London and ways to address them. Review LCCP’s publications here.Review LCCP’s publications here.
Further information about this story and the London Climate Change Partnership is available at: www.climatelondon.org.uk or by contacting Matthew Dear: 020 7983 5874, Matthew.Dear@london.gov.uk