The weather has been recorded in the garden for many years and since 1956 we have been an official weather station for the Met Office. Observations are made every day at 09:00hrs GMT and once they have been recorded they are entered into the Met Office Database which adds to the overall picture of the past weather.
In 2010 The Met Office approached us about automating the weather data collection, making the readings more accurate and standardising them across many of the Met Office sites.
A new site on the glasshouse lawn was chosen by the Met Office and the Garden as it is more visible to the general public as well as being less sheltered.
Within the fenced area we record maximum and minimum air temperatures, the grass minimum, soil temperatures at depths of 10cm, 30cm and 100cm, humidity and precipitation (rain or snow) automatically.
In addition the roof of the historic Temperate Palm House supports a Campbell–Stokes recorder for sunshine hours and serves as a vantage point for monitoring visibility, wind direction and speed. All this information is currently still read manually, but the Met Office is looking to automate these too in the next few years.
Click here for the latest weather chart from our station.
Monthly Averages (1981-2010)
|Daily Max ºC||7.0||7.6||9.5||11.7||14.6||17.2||19.1||18.9||16.5||13.1||9.6||7.0|
|Daily Min ºC||1.4||1.5||2.8||4.4||6.8||9.6||11.4||11.4||9.4||6.5||3.7||1.3|
Extreme Weather (January 1959 to January 2015)
The sunniest year was 1995 with 1666.9 hours (118% of average) and our sunniest day was the 25th May 1988 with 15.7 hours (however, there is a small problem with the sunshine recorder, as it gets shaded in the early mornings during June and July).
In contrast our dullest year was 1983 with only 1230.8 hours (87%) of sunshine and our dullest month, with 16.8 hrs of sunshine was December 1978!
Our highest maximum temperature was recorded on the 5th of August 1975 with 30ºC and the lowest minimum air temperature was -15.5ºC on the 11th of January 1982.
The warmest 12 month period ended in May/June 2007 (10.77ºC average air temperature) and the coolest in November 1979 (7.98ºC).
On the 26th July 1985 we recorded 82.1mm of rain over a 24hr period. The wettest year on record at the RBGE was 2012 with a total of 959.2mm (1032.8mm in 12 months in 2012/2013 or 148% of the average) and the wettest month has been August 2008 with 202.3mm; that is 326% of the average for August! (230.6mm in a 31 day period in July/August 2008). December 2010 brought the thickest layer of snow with 22cm at RBGE (though it was a lot higher in other parts of Edinburgh). The previous record had been 8cm on several occasions. Interestingly, the longest "snow free" period (i.e. where no snow was recorded at 9GMT) was from March 2006 to February 2009, almost three years.
Our driest year was in 1959 when we only had 436.2mm of rain (63% of the average), and the driest month was February 1993 when we had a mere 3.7mm of precipitation (however, there was only 1.2mm of rain in a 31 day period in July/August 1995).
Average and extreme rain and sunshine over the year can be seen here, temperature averages and extremes here. For some further weather curiosities, such as occurrences of frost, fog or drought please click here.
Past weather charts since January 2009 are available here.
Webpage updated 02 December 2016.