Ben Nevis gets automatic weather station

From BBC - November 8, 2017

Live weather data is being recorded again at the top of Ben Nevis, the UK's highest peak, after a 113-year gap.

Researchers have installed an automatic meteorological station that digitally collects information on temperatures, wind speeds and rainfall levels.

Until 1904, the same measurements were gathered by men who lived in a shelter at the summit.

The weather station was carried up the mountain, in the Scottish Highlands, by a team of researchers on Tuesday.

The new station means visitors to the UnEarthed exhibition in Edinburgh next week will be able to take a look in real-time at weather conditions on the mountain, something that was not possible previously.

Dr Barbara Brooks and her team from the NERC National Centre for Atmospheric Science carried the equipment up the mountain on Tuesday - and were able to be precise in their observations on the weather they encountered.

"We had some blue sky and then as we crested the summit the cloud banks rolled in and we got some light snow flurries. The temperature was -3.6C with a wind chill of -12C," she told BBC News.

Escorted by local guide Ron Walker, the team of five set up a solar-and battery-powered Vaisala WXT536 station to record wind speed and direction, pressure, temperature, humidity, and precipitation - specifically rain and sleet.

These are the measurements that the famous "Weathermen of Ben Nevis" would take by hand on the hour, every hour, during the period from 1883 to 1904.

They lived in a small shelter and telegraphed their observations to the nearby town of Fort William.

Their original logs are now being digitised by volunteers for the Operation Weather Rescue: Ben Nevis project.

The old information is still useful because it can shed light on past storms in the Scottish Highlands as well as providing ongoing insights into how weather systems evolve as they pass over Scotland's largest mountains.

The newly-installed weather station on the peak of Ben Nevis will only be in place until December, when it will be taken away again.


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