Weather data for schools

Welcome to the Rothamsted Weather Data for the Schools web page. We hope that the data here will be used by anyone with an interest in local weather, including teachers and students, in the classroom or for projects at home. There is information on long-term weather and question sheets for schools, and also lots of background information on how the data is measured on the Weather Data for the Public page.

The data available is described below. Please register for a password to extract the data you'll need.

The provision of the schools data arose after discussions with local secondary schools who expressed an interest in using "real local data". It is anticipated the data will be useful in a variety of National Curriculum subjects including geography, science, maths and computing.

Data available

1. Daily weather data from Rothamsted, 1990 to present (in a dataset called SCHOOLMETDAY):

  • RAIN: total rainfall in a day (mm)
  • SUNHOURS: total amount of sunshine in a day (hours)
  • TMAX: maximum air temperature during the day (°C)
  • TMIN: minimum air temperature during the day (°C)
  • WDIR: wind direction at 09:00 GMT each morning (degrees)
  • WINDRUN: total amount of wind in a day (km)

2. Monthly data from Rothamsted, 1878 to present (in a dataset called SCHOOLMETMTH):

  • RAIN: total rainfall in a month (mm)
  • SUNHOURS: total amount of sunshine in a month (hours)
  • TMAX: the mean maximum monthly air temperature (°C)
  • TMIN: the mean minimum monthly air temperature (°C)

Question sheets and handouts for schools

Secondary school question sheets on Rothamsted weather data:

For these first two exercise sheets you will need to extract data from the two schools data sets in the e-RA database. This exercise also contains data to plot.

Primary school question sheet on Rothamsted weather data:

Timeline facts:
You can see some interesting historical events coinciding with the start of Rothamsted.

Long-term weather

The long-term weather records at Rothamsted have been invaluable in aiding understanding of the effects of climate on crop growth, yields and diseases. They have revealed changes in temperature and rainfall over 170 years. The annual mean air temperature has fluctuated considerably and rose sharply between 1987-2007.

The figure shows the annual mean air temperature at Rothamsted every year from 1878 - 2013. Also shown is the mean over each five year period, 1878-1882, 1883-1887, etc. The red line shows the mean temperature, 1878-1987. The mean air temperature at Rothamsted is now 10 ºC, 1ºC higher than the 1878-1987 average. The 10 warmest years on record occured in the last 17 years. Mean soil temperatures have also risen.

Click the chart above for a PDF version. Data are available to download as an Excel Spreedsheet: Annual mean Rothamsted temperature.

These data are freely available, no password is required, however users are requested to acknowledge Rothamsted Research as the data source.

Reference: Scott, T (2014) "The U.K. Environmental Change Network Rothamsted. Physical and Atmospheric Measurements", p8. Lawes Agriculture Trust Co. Ltd, Harpenden, UK. See ECN Rothamsted (2014).

Website Links

  • The Environmental Change Network (ECN) also has a section on data for schools.
  • Rothamsted Research is committed to its work in collaboration with local schools and helps local schools to develop links with our scientists. For information, including an activity handout based on Broadbalk long-term wheat experiment, see Rothamsted - Our Science in the Classroom.
  • The e-RA database was developed using special coding. To learn more about coding visit The Code Academy.

For further information and assistance, please contact the e-RA curators, Sarah Perryman and Margaret Glendining using the e-RA email address: era@rothamsted.ac.uk