Weatherwatch: lessons from a late friend’s 30 years of record-keeping

·1 min read
<span>Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA</span>
Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA

Barry kept tabs on the weather in Buckinghamshire – and his snow and air frost data show a downward trend

A friend, Barry Horne, who kept meticulous weather records in his home village of Edlesborough in Buckinghamshire from 1969 until 1999, was not convinced about climate change.

He contended that the weather varied too much even over a 30-year period. Just in case he was wrong, however, he printed off his entire records and presented them to me so that if either of us lived long enough, the statistics might help with the answer.

He did concede that one set of figures, the number of days snow fell in a year, had shown a general downward trend over the period, despite sharp annual variations. By the 1990s it was down to 10 days of snowfall a year on average. With this winter halfway through, we have had one snowfall this year – 10 would be exceptional.

Perhaps his record of air frosts is more remarkable. In the 1970s it was not unusual for the winter months to have more than 20 air frosts recorded, and in January and February 1979 there were only three nights without one. That year March had 22.

Sadly Barry died before we could settle the argument but air frosts would have been the clincher. In his log they were often recorded in April, most years in May, twice in June.

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