e-RA: the electronic Rothamsted Archive

Meteorological Data stored in e-RA

Daily meteorological data recorded at three of the Rothamsted Research sites, Rothamsted, Woburn and Brooms Barn, is available from e-RA. Hourly data for Rothamsted and Woburn from 2004 is available from the e-RA Curators.

Location of the meteorological sites:

Site Location Latitude Longitude Altitude (m asl)
Rothamsted Harpenden, Hertfordshire 51.82 N 0.37 W 128
Woburn Farm Husband Crawley, Woburn, Bedfordshire 52.02 N 0.62 W 89
Brooms Barn Higham, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk 52.27 N 0.57 E 70


Woburn Met Data, June 7th - July 20th 2016: Electric storms on 7th June caused considerable damage to the Woburn data logger, and we were unable to collect the weather data at Woburn until a new data logger was installed. Missing data has now been entered from the Met Office (see under Woburn below). There are still some data missing for some variables as follows:

Missing data supplied by the Met Office:The following variables were supplied by the Met Office, when our AWS (Automatic Weather Stations) were not fully functional:


Brooms Barn:


Rothamsted has one of the longest continuous sets of meteorological recordings in the world. Total rainfall and wind direction have been measured since 1853, temperature since 1878, sunshine from 1890, wind force from 1917, radiation from 1931, wind run since 1946 and wind speed since 1960. Annual rainfall averages 704mm (1971-2000), but ranges widely from 380mm in 1921 to 973mm in 2000. Mean annual temperature 1878-1990 at Rothamsted was 9C; average annual temperature is now more than 1C higher than the 1878-1990 average (for more details refer to Guide to Classical Experiments 2006, p 44-45). Since 2004, meteorological records have been measured by a range of sensors attached to an automatic data logger; manual observations continued to be made until May 2007.

Rothamsted took over the management of the farm at Woburn in the 1920's and the first meteorological records date back to 1928. Annual rainfall averages 649mm (1971-2000). Temperature, rainfall, sunshine, wind force and wind direction have been measured since 1928. Wind speed and wind run have been measured since 1968 and radiation measurements started in 1981. Manual observations ceased on 1st July 1999, and meteorological records are now measured by a range of sensors attached to an automatic data logger. The mean annual temperature (1971-2000) was 9.6 C.

Meteorological data was first collected in Brooms Barn in 1963. Fewer variables are measured than at Rothamsted and Woburn. Rainfall averages 612mm (1963-2008). Mean annual temperature 1964-2008 was 9.9C. Dew point, wind run, sunshine hours, vapour pressure and relative humidity have also been measured and/or calculated. Data from 1982 is available in e-RA.

Data Available

All daily data can be extracted using the e-RA Data Extraction Tool. The following datasets are available:

Hourly data for Rothamsted from 2004 only is available from the e-RA Curators.

For Derived Variables (Potential Soil Moisture Deficit, Accumulated Day Degrees and Evaporation and monthly summaries of meteorological data please contact the e-RA Curators.

With thanks to Tony Scott and Chris Hall for data provision, and to Tony Scott for help with compiling the text and for providing the images.

Atmospheric inputs

Chemical inputs in rain and dry deposition Since the 1850s, inputs in rain at Rothamsted have changed considerably. Inputs of acidity (H+ ions) are small; less than 0.1 kg ha-1yr-1 up to the 1950s, they reached a maximum of 0.4 kg ha-1yr-1 in the 1970s and are now about 0.2 kg ha-1yr-1. In contrast, other inputs, such as sulphate, nitrate or ammonium can be much larger. Inputs of sulphate-S were about 5 kg ha-1yr-1 in the 1850s, reached a maximum of 65 kg ha-1yr-1 by 1980 and, after a dramatic decline, associated with decreasing emissions from power stations and a decline in heavy industry, are now about 5 kg ha-1yr-1. Inputs of nitrate- and ammonium-N in rainfall were 1 and 3 kg ha-1yr-1, respectively, in 1855, and increased to 8 and 10 kg ha-1yr-1 in 1980; since then they have declined to 5 and 3 kg ha-1yr-1, respectively. Estimates of N in dry deposition are available for the last 20 years. In 1996, it amounted to 34 kg N ha-1yr-1; about three times that in rainfall. The total input, for wet and dry deposition, of 43 kg N ha-1yr-1 agrees well other estimates; calculated total inputs ranged from 30-50 kg N ha-1yr-1 during the late 20th century. We estimate that, in the mid-1850s, total N inputs were about 10 kg ha-1yr-1.

Concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) are not measured at Rothamsted but the rise in atmospheric CO2 concentrations worldwide has been well documented; increasing from about 280 ppm in 1850 to c.380 ppm in 2005.

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