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Hot days at Harper Adams

Posted 29 August 2006

SOARING July temperatures in Newport were six degrees centigrade hotter than last year – it has been revealed.

The Agricultural Meteorological Station at Harper Adams University College has shown that the average temperature in July was 27.1°C – compared to 21.1°C last year.

And the hottest day in the area last month was July 19th when temperatures reached a high of 33.9°C – compared to 28.8°C on July 14th 2005.

Richard Page, laboratory technician, commented on the results: “Residents in the area have been saying how much hotter it has been this year, and the results from Harper Adams’ station have proved that there has been a dramatic increase.

“According to the data we have collected at the university college, the average temperature was hotter this July than it was at the same time last year – this has been why farmers in the area have been forced to harvest a few weeks earlier than usual.

“Looking at the data, there has also been increases in the soil temperature – with the average for soil 10cm below the surface being 19.3°C whereas it was just 17.1°C last July.”

The news comes as part of the ongoing research at the university college – where data has been collected for more than 100 years.

Experts at the university college launched a manual Agricultural Meteorological Station to collect data in 1903, two years after the college was opened, before recording the results for the MET Office in 1928.

As part of the research, daily readings were taken of rainfall, wind direction and speed, soil temperatures, maximum and minimum air temperatures and grass minimum temperatures.

This was followed by the installation of a sunshine recorder in 1925 to record the hours of sunshine.

Then in July 1988, an Automatic Weather Station was installed which, like the manual system, records rainfall, wind direction and speed, soil temperatures, maximum and minimum air temperatures and total radiation or total hours of daylight as opposed to number of hours of sunshine.

Mr Page added: “The MET Office uses the data and we are also contacted by individuals in the area who are interested in the weather as well as local farmers.”

Harper Adams University College recorded the lowest ever temperature in England of 26.1°C on January 10th 1982.

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