Climate Change in Herefordshire

If, like us, you have a keen interest in nature, weather and gardening, then you will also be curious about the longer-term changes in climate both locally and globally. Climate (temperature, precipitation, humidity, wind, atmospheric pressure) is a major factor in deciding the local flora and fauna, normal and extreme weather conditions, which food crops will grow reliably and even the local infrastructure (e.g. the effects of sea level rise/fall).

Climate change and global warming (which is just one particular aspect of climate change that we are currently experiencing) is not a contentious issue within the scientific community. The mechanisms and causes of climate change were agreed decades ago. [Spoiler Alert!!! At the moment, it is mainly humans increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations through fossil fuel combustion and land management changes such as deforestation].

In the physical sciences, there is no such thing as 'proof' or 100% certainty, just laws and theories that present our best explanation of how 'stuff' works in the natural world. The scientific consensus on climate change arises from the consilience (or convergence) of evidence and ideas from many different sources and inputs.

As an interesting project I thought I would analyse local weather data in terms of climatic changes. The nearest Met Office weather station with historical data is Ross-on-Wye with monthly weather parameters from 1931 to 2020. I downloaded this into Google Sheets and performed a simple linear regression analysis.

Climate, global warming, linear regression

In climate science, temperature trends are usually shown with temperature anomalies rather than absolute temperatures. For a single weather station this is not necessary. However, for completeness I have included the plot below using a 30-year baseline (1931-1960) to calculate anomalies.

climate change, global warming
There is considerable scatter in the plots, as you would expect from a single weather station, but still clear evidence of a warming trend. The best fit regression line indicates a warming trend of about 1.65 ℃ per century (or 1.47 ℃ over the period 1931 to 2020). According to NOAA, land global temperatures have increased by 1.60 ℃ over this same 89-year period.

Another way at looking at the warming trend is to plot decadal temperature changes as shown in the plot below. Global temperature reconstructions show additional warming in the 1940s (although with significant regional variations in the amount of warming) as does the data from Ross-on-Wye.

Climate change, global warming


I will be taking a closer look at more weather data from Ross-on-Wye in later blogposts.


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