Old Weather Reports Digitized to Study Current Weather Conditions

Category: Science/Environment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. digitize / ˈdɪdʒ ɪˌtaɪz / (v) – to make something readable by a computer

    She plans to digitize the books she has so she can share them with friends.

  2. diligently / ˈdɪl ɪ dʒənt li / (adv) – in a manner that shows care and effort

    I read my notes diligently so I won’t miss any information.

  3. archive / ˈɑr kaɪv / (v) – to keep something so it can be used again

    Scientists archive their science journals because they may be helpful in future experiments.

  4. countless / ˈkaʊnt lɪs / (adj) – too many that it’s too hard to count

    The countless data made it hard for the researchers to study them one by one.

  5. shed light on / ʃɛd laɪt ɒn / (idiom) – to explain

    The scientists shed light on why we experience intense heat today.


Read the text below.

Researchers collected the United Kingdom’s old weather reports and started digitizing them to explain the current weather conditions.

In 1883, a group of UK meteorologists set up a station at the summit of Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the United Kingdom, to diligently observe the weather conditions.  The ‘Weathermen of Ben Nevis,’ as they were called, recorded the temperature, pressure, and rainfall by handwriting the data. Then, they telegraphed these data to London where they were used as weather forecasts and storm warnings.

Around 1904, the station shut down but all the handwritten documents were archived.

Recently, a group of scientists led by Professor Ed Hawkins of the University of Reading started the Weather Rescue Project. It aims to study the past weather reports so climate experts can learn from them. To do this, the group obtained all the handwritten weather reports from the United Kingdom’s weather service and started digitizing them. They sought volunteers to help with the process because of the countless handwritten data they have collected.

Once all the data are digitized, the scientists will analyze the weather patterns and changes that occurred in the past. These observations will then be used as a basis to determine if the conditions that people experience now have already happened before.

Professor Hawkins claims that the future results of their study may even reveal whether or not the Earth is really experiencing climate change. The data can also help shed light on why rainfalls are becoming more frequent in the United Kingdom. Aside from that, the data can be used as a reference on how extreme the weather in the mountains is and use it to prepare for rescue operations.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think that the project is relevant? Why or why not?
• Do you think that past weather conditions affect the current weather conditions?

Discussion B

• Aside from those mentioned, how else can we make use of the future results of the study?
• In your opinion, how can the project be improved (e.g. gather data from other places)?