NCAS set-up weather station on Ben Nevis after 113 years without observations
A team from the National Centre for Atmospheric Science scaled the UK's highest mountain this week to install a weather station that will record conditions on the summit for the first time in 113 years.
The expedition is the latest stage of Operation Weather Rescue: Ben Nevis which launched in September 2017 and appealed to the public to help digitise two million 'lost' weather measurements taken by a group of Victorian volunteers known as the 'Weathermen of Ben Nevis' by hand, every hour on the hour, each day of the year, from 1883 to 1904. Since September, over 3,500 volunteers have digitised over 1.25 million weather observations.
Dr Barbara Brooks and her team, joined by guide Ron Walker, installed the temporary automatic weather station to record wind speed and direction, pressure, temperature, precipitation and humidity on the summit of Ben Nevis for the first time since 1904, when the Victorian observatory staffed by volunteer weathermen closed its doors for the last time.
The group left Fort William at 7.30am, reaching the summit at 12.30pm. Installation of the new weather station, the Vaisala WXT536, took 1.5 hours. The weather station may be able to use the 3G coverage at the peak of Ben Nevis to transmit data back to NCAS, but also records data to local storage in the event that coverage drops out during poor weather conditions.
Dr Brooks hopes that the new, temporary weather station will produce weather data that can be compared to the Victorian records. The team aims to have initial comparisons on show at NERC's free interactive showcase event, UnEarthed, at Dynamic Earth, 17-19 November.
Dr Brooks said "this is a temporary weather station, which for four weeks will do the same work as the Victorian weathermen all those years ago. Thankfully, technology has moved on so there's no need for our team to be stationed at the summit over the winter months. If we can prove the data is robust, we're hopeful this could lead to a new, permanent weather station on the summit, which would be invaluable for meteorologists."