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Keywords:

  • climate;
  • UK;
  • spatial interpolation;
  • regression;
  • gridded datasets;
  • GIS

Abstract

Monthly or annual 5 km × 5 km gridded datasets covering the UK are generated for the 1961–2000 period, for 36 climatic parameters. As well as the usual elements of temperature, rainfall, sunshine, cloud, wind speed, and pressure, derived temperature variables (such as growing-season length, heating degree days, and heat and cold wave durations) and further precipitation variables (such as rainfall intensity, maximum consecutive dry days, and days of snow, hail and thunder) are analysed.

The analysis process uses geographical information system capabilities to combine multiple regression with inverse-distance-weighted interpolation. Geographic and topographic factors, such as easting and northing, terrain height and shape, and urban and coastal effects, are incorporated either through normalization with regard to the 1961–90 average climate, or as independent variables in the regression. Local variations are then incorporated through the spatial interpolation of regression residuals.

For each of the climatic parameters, the choice of model is based on verification statistics produced by excluding a random set of stations from the analysis for a selection of months, and comparing the observed values with the estimated values at each point. This gives some insight into the significance, direction, and seasonality of factors affecting different climate elements. It also gives a measure of the accuracy of the method at predicting values between station locations.

The datasets are being used for the verification of climate modelling scenarios and are available via the Internet. © Crown Copyright 2005. Reproduced with the permission of Her Majesty's Stationery Office. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.