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Met Office Withhold Data From The Public

September 16, 2015

By Paul Homewood 

 

 

 

As readers will be aware, I have done much analysis work of Met Office data since I started this blog. 

Some of the basic info is readily available on their website, such as monthly rainfall and temperature.

Often though I need to look at daily data at individual sites. Until a year or so ago, this information was provided on request very promptly by email in a csv file. Indeed, usually they responded within a few hours.

Then things changed, and I was told that they were now operating a fair usage policy and could only supply a small amount of data, such as a single year. This seemed illogical, since it should not take any longer copying across a spreadsheet of 100 years data than 1 year’s worth.

But now it seems that things have changed again. When I asked yesterday for just two years of daily rainfall data at Oxford, I received this reply:

 

 

Dear Paul,

Thank you for your email regarding rainfall data for Oxford.

Unfortunately, daily rainfall is not freely available and is a chargeable service.

If you would like us to process your request through our Sales team please let us know.

If you have any further questions or need any additional information, please let us know. Our Weather Desk team are available to assist you 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Simply reply to this email or give us a call on 0370 900 0100 and one of our advisors will be happy to help.

Kind regards,

Jess

Weather Desk Advisor

Met Office, FitzRoy Road, Exeter, Devon, EX1 3PB, United Kingdom 

 

Personally I think the whole thing stinks. The Met Office are a publically funded organisation and as such should be transparent with their data, which after all has already been paid for by the public.

I would not expect them for one minute to have to spend hours of their time digging things out for me, and it is right and proper that they should charge for commercial use. However, as has already become obvious, the info I have asked for should not take more than a few minutes to pull together. (If it is not, there must be something drastically wrong with their systems!)

Furthermore, daily data, of the sort I have asked for, is available publically for download, along with graphs, from the US and Australia amongst, no doubt, others. The conclusion is worrying, that the Met Office are afraid of the public discovering the true state of affairs, ie that their doom-mongering has no foundation.

 

Their stonewalling, in any event, will have no effect, as I have already foi’d them, and they will have to supply the data I need unless they can prove it will be inordinately expensive to provide.

And, if they are so desperate for money, I would suggest they save some by getting rid of the useless Slingo!

36 Comments
  1. September 16, 2015 7:54 pm

    Have you asked the library direct? If you give them an old station number they will give you the lot (max, min, rainfall and sunshine) back to 1959 (if applicable) in the form of an Excel spreadsheet.
    Trying to get data is a real bugbear of Xmetman. His blog is here:

    https://xmetman.wordpress.com/2015/09/16/ignoring-reality/

    • September 16, 2015 7:59 pm

      Yes, I used to get on well with Mark Beswick (?) And others there. I believe Mark left a couple of years ago.

  2. September 16, 2015 7:57 pm

    It is very sad what is happening to this great organisation. As you say, if you are a UK taxpayer you have already paid for this. They should have to make it accessible so that you just have to click on a couple of buttons on their website to get it, instead of having to bother them with requests.

  3. September 16, 2015 8:02 pm

    Paul,

    Professor Judith Curry now realizes that Climategate emails raised too many questions and official responses contained too few answers.

    I urge your support for the broad-based group now forming to try to understand the implications of lock-step, politically-correct, worldwide, Orwellian thought control!

    http://www.mindingthecampus.org/2015/09/heterodox-academy-a-new-site/

  4. September 16, 2015 8:11 pm

    Good work Paul. As ever in awe of your tenacity.

  5. Green Sand permalink
    September 16, 2015 8:43 pm

    Well, you did point out the lack of growth in their “commercial” revenue:-)

    Maybe you are seen as a potential new income stream? May even get your own dedicated account manager?

    You/we the British public will never get the service we signed up for until the Hadley Center is separated from the Met Office. We have a 25 year young ideological conceptual research tail wagging and strangling a 160 year old scientific meteorological body!

    • Le Roy permalink
      September 16, 2015 10:38 pm

      Very good point GS re. tail wagging etc.

    • September 16, 2015 10:49 pm

      How feasible would that be? This would obviously be a big issue should the government ever consider selling off UKMO.

  6. Joe Public permalink
    September 16, 2015 8:56 pm

    To paraphrase Phil Jones from his Climatefate email of Feb. 21, 2005:

    “Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it…”

    OK, it won’t be in the data that you’ll try to find errors, but it’ll be with MO conclusions from that data!!

    • Joe Public permalink
      September 16, 2015 8:57 pm

      Ooops – Freudian slip – ClimateGate, not ClimateFate.

    • September 17, 2015 11:25 am

      “Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it…” Perhaps because it is an important and necessary part of the Scientific Method?

  7. September 16, 2015 9:02 pm

    I have written to my MP to complain about the behaviour of the Met and recommend others do the same. Good work Paul, I enjoy your regular updates.

    • Ben Vorlich permalink
      September 17, 2015 6:52 am

      If you email Jeremy Corbyn it might get asked on PMQs

  8. September 16, 2015 9:19 pm

    It would be interesting to know if others get the same response to similar requests.

    • September 16, 2015 9:37 pm

      I’ve already contacted one, who has had the same response.

      • September 16, 2015 10:31 pm

        My last request in January this year was for a February 1991 rainfall card for a station in my area. It was dealt with swiftly as was all my other enquiries when I was compiling my own local archive. Most daily data back to 1959 are digitised – before that I believe there are issues with computers recognising numerals in old founts? – so (I think) a lot has to be done manually. There must be literally millions of records that need to be digitised manually – a worthy project that would be similar to the British Newspaper Archive.
        I believe the Met Office library just haven’t got the manpower to do this.

        To be honest when I requested data I felt a bit of a pest when I kept asking for different station numbers for my area. But they have always been patient and amenable to my requests. Perhaps I’ve been lucky?

        With regard to the free to download monthly data I’ve yet to be able to open any of the files.

      • September 17, 2015 10:04 am

        No, it is daily data for all local stations including City of London Cemetery, Seven Kings, West Ham etc. Some data sets go back to 1959 – but if you want to go prior to that date you have to dig out the logs, all of which are in the Met Office library in Exeter. One of these days I plan to go down there…

  9. September 16, 2015 10:09 pm

    Reblogged this on WeatherAction News and commented:
    The data should be publicly available. It’s as simple as that.

  10. Brad permalink
    September 16, 2015 10:52 pm

    Sounds like they are pulling up the drawbridges, getting ready for the upcoming siege?

    • September 16, 2015 11:16 pm

      Yes, they fought a brave fight, but once again, Truth is victorious, never untruth.”

  11. September 17, 2015 7:00 am

    I cannot understand why data is not available on a publicly accessible system – it will not cost them a penny of their time to give it out then.

    Like you can search for a trademark:

    https://www.ipo.gov.uk/types/tm/t-os/t-find/tmtext.htm

    Unless they are trying to screw more money from the public of course.

    The Met Office is the UK’s National Weather Service and a member of the Public Data Group.

    The Public Data Group is owned by the UK government – so perhaps they are after more money for the deficit.

  12. September 17, 2015 7:21 am

    The data belongs to the public not the Met Office.

  13. cheshirered permalink
    September 17, 2015 8:11 am

    The real reason/s for this decision will have nothing to do with the false reasons given as justification. How many members of the ‘ordinary’ public actually request this data? I’d guess the number is vanishingly small. Which means the vast majority of requests come from ‘motivated’ enquirers like Paul, who then promptly uses the MO’s own data to hold them to account!

    Imo they’re simply set on making this data as difficult to get hold of as possible for the likes of our host. I wonder why…..?

    • September 17, 2015 8:24 am

      But if you know what you are looking for ie the number of the rainfall / climate station they are swift in replying. Perhaps I’ve just been lucky but is it possible that some enquiries are not definitive enough.
      You are also free to visit the Met Office library at any time by appointment – that it is in Exeter ie inconvenient for most of the population is beside the point, but don’t get me started on that one…

  14. September 17, 2015 12:54 pm

    “Unfortunately, daily rainfall is not freely available…”
    Who’d have thunk it?

  15. Don Keiller permalink
    September 17, 2015 6:40 pm

    I would make a complaint (but first inform the Met Orifice you intend to, if they don’t fulfil your reasonable request) to the Information Commissioner.
    He has proved helpful to me in the past- re “Climategate”.

  16. David Parker permalink
    September 17, 2015 7:26 pm

    Good evening Paul

    I have been a Met Office observer for 50 years or so. The site is in South Oxfordshire, Rural but not that far from RMS Oxford.

    DCNN 4542

    Would you like my records for the last few years . FOC of course.

    Regards

    David

    • September 17, 2015 7:54 pm

      Thanks for the offer, David.

      However I really need much longer periods, ideally a century or more.

  17. xmetman permalink
    September 17, 2015 7:36 pm

    I approached Oxford (Radcliffe Meteorological Station) by email a number of times and have never received a reply to my requests for climate data. I concluded it’s because they charge for that data and you don’t get nothing for free, which is a shame because they have the longest temperature record in the UK.

    The charges for these data will be as follows:
    Monthly summary: Weather at Oxford [£120 p.a. plus VAT]
    Monthly summary of daily statistics [£240 p.a. plus VAT]
    Copies of original met. forms [£180 p.a. plus VAT]
    Information for student projects is supplied free of charge.

    And that’s why the Met Office can’t give the data away for free – they don’t own it.

    I worked for the Met Office for almost 40 year until I retired, and when I requested daily rainfall data for a number of stations in the SW of England I got the following quote:

    Hello Bruce,

    Thank you for your request for weather data from the Met Office.

    From your enquiry I understand that you are looking to obtain the daily rainfall figures from three locations of Yeovilton, Exeter and Plymouth for 1973 until present.

    The data that you have requested would total 43923 data units and would cost approximately £4749.65+VAT.
    The data would be formatted in an Excel spreadsheet (example attached) and delivered to you via email or fax.

    The three stations mentioned above are large stations, however throughout the 41 years of recordings there may be occurrences when there is missing data, such as for upgrades, technical downtimes and other such situations. If this is the case we would look at obtaining data from an alternative weather station near to that location.

    If you were to obtain less frequent readings such a weekly or monthly the cost would obviously decrease.

    Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like to me to provide you with a quotation for this or if you have any questions at all.

    Kindest regards

    Climate data is most certainly not free and it’s a crime.

    • September 17, 2015 7:52 pm

      I have got daily data from the Radcliffe in the past, although they were a bit slow.

      I think it was a year’s worth.

    • September 18, 2015 9:19 am

      I’ve emailed to you the daily data for Oxford that the Met Office sent me a couple of years ago. It covers 1931-2012

      Paul

  18. October 5, 2015 10:41 pm

    Reblogged this on Jaffer's blog.

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