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Extreme Rain Months At Oxford

September 21, 2015

By Paul Homewood




The Radcliffe Observatory in Oxford has one of the best sets of climate records in the UK.  

The Radcliffe Meteorological Station is situated in Woodstock Road in the garden of Green Templeton College beside the old observatory building, adjacent to the old Radcliffe Infirmary site. It possesses the longest series of temperature and rainfall records for one site in Britain. These records are continuous from January, 1815. Irregular observations of rainfall, cloud and temperature exist from 1767.


The Met Office give us monthly data for the site since 1853, and these give us an interesting insight into extreme rainfall trends.

Below is the distribution of the 50 wettest months:




By far the wettest month of all was October 1875 when 192mm fell. November 1940 ranks second.

There is the usual clustering, but absolutely no evidence at all that these sort of extreme rainfall months are getting either wetter or more frequent.

Oxford is, of course, only one site, but it offers high quality, long term records and is a reasonably typical inland site for the central England area. What really comes across is how little things have changed since the 1850’s.

  1. dearieme permalink
    September 21, 2015 6:57 pm

    You could just about make the case that rainfall recently has been a bit low. It’s been a while since 160mm was beaten.

  2. Richard Mallett permalink
    September 21, 2015 7:21 pm

    Where can we get the records from 1815 and from 1767 ?

    • September 21, 2015 9:51 pm

      Radcliffe give annual figures.

      But they say you have to pay for monthly data!

      It beats me why the Met Office don’t have all of this on line.

      • Richard Mallett permalink
        September 21, 2015 10:40 pm

        Not in Excel format either. Thanks anyway, I will have to type it in by hand.

      • September 22, 2015 9:47 am

        If you right click and “select all”, then copy, you can paste onto Excel by using paste special – Set to “merge delimiters + space” should do the trick.

        (I use Open Office, but I think the Excel commands are the same)

      • Richard Mallett permalink
        September 22, 2015 11:11 am

        Many thanks for that, I will give it a try.

      • Richard Mallett permalink
        September 22, 2015 9:03 pm

        Thanks, that worked fine. Not surprisingly, if you plot running 11 year means, then (like the CET) it also shows the current cooling very well.

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