Articles | Volume 10, issue 3
10 Sep 2018
 | 10 Sep 2018

A rescued dataset of sub-daily meteorological observations for Europe and the southern Mediterranean region, 1877–2012

Linden Ashcroft, Joan Ramon Coll, Alba Gilabert, Peter Domonkos, Manola Brunet, Enric Aguilar, Mercè Castella, Javier Sigro, Ian Harris, Per Unden, and Phil Jones

Abstract. Sub-daily meteorological observations are needed for input to and assessment of high-resolution reanalysis products to improve understanding of weather and climate variability. While there are millions of such weather observations that have been collected by various organisations, many are yet to be transcribed into a useable format.

Under the auspices of the Uncertainties in Ensembles of Regional ReAnalyses (UERRA) project, we describe the compilation and development of a digital dataset of 8.8 million meteorological observations of essential climate variables (ECVs) rescued across the European and southern Mediterranean region. By presenting the entire chain of data preparation, from the identification of regions lacking in digitised sub-daily data and the location of original sources, through the digitisation of the observations to the quality control procedures applied, we provide a rescued dataset that is as traceable as possible for use by the research community.

Data from 127 stations and of 15 climate variables in the northern African and European sectors have been prepared for the period 1877 to 2012. Quality control of the data using a two-step semi-automatic statistical approach identified 3.5 % of observations that required correction or removal, on par with previous data rescue efforts.

In addition to providing a new sub-daily meteorological dataset for the research community, our experience in the development of this sub-daily dataset gives us an opportunity to share some suggestions for future data rescue projects.

All versions of the dataset, from the raw digitised data to data that have been quality controlled and converted to standard units, are available on PANGAEA: (Ashcroft et al., 2018).

Short summary
We present a dataset of 8.8 million sub-daily weather observations for Europe and the southern Mediterranean, compiled and digitised from historical and modern sources. We describe the methods used to digitise and quality control the data, and show that 3.5 % of the observations required correction or removal, similar to other data rescue projects. These newly recovered records will help to improve weather simulations over Europe.