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    Reassessing long-standing meteorological records: an example using the national hottest day in Ireland

    Dooley, Katherine and Kelly, Ciaran and Seifert, Natascha and Myslinski, Therese and O'Kelly, Sophie and Siraj, Rushna and Crosby, Ciara and Dunne, Jack Kevin and McCauley, Kate and Donoghue, James and Gaddren, Eoin and Conway, Daniel and Cooney, Jordan and McCarthy, Niamh and Cullen, Eoin and Noone, Simon and Murphy, Conor and Thorne, Peter (2023) Reassessing long-standing meteorological records: an example using the national hottest day in Ireland. Climate of the Past, 19 (1). pp. 1-22. ISSN 1814-9332

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    This analysis highlights the potential value in reanalysing early national meteorological records from around the world. These were oftentimes measured via techniques that preceded standardisation of instrumentation and methods of observation and thus could be subject to considerable biases and uncertainties. This analysis uses the techniques pioneered by WMO record assessment teams. The highest currently recognised air temperature (33.3 ∘C) ever recorded in the Republic of Ireland was logged at Kilkenny Castle in 1887. The original observational record however no longer exists. Given that Ireland is now the only country in Europe to have a national heat record that was set in the 19th century, a reassessment of the verity of this record is both timely and valuable. The present analysis undertakes a fundamental reassessment of the plausibility of the 1887 temperature record using methods similar to those used to assess various weather extremes under WMO auspices over recent years. Specifically, we undertake an inter-station reassessment using sparse available records and make recourse to the new and improved 20CRv3 sparse-input reanalysis product. Neither surrounding available stations nor the reanalysis offer substantive support for the Kilkenny record of 33.3 ∘C being correct. Moreover, recent data rescue efforts have uncovered several earlier extreme values, one of which exceeds the Kilkenny value (33.5 ∘C on 16 July 1876 recorded at the Phoenix Park). However, the sparsity of early observational networks, a distinct lack of synoptic support from 20CRv3 for many of the extreme heat values, and the fact that these measurements were obtained using non-standard exposures lead us to conclude that there is grossly insufficient evidence to support any of these 19th century extremes as robust national heat record candidates. Data from the early 20th century onwards benefit from a denser network of stations undertaking measurements in a more standardised manner, many under the direct auspices of Met Éireann and its predecessors, adhering to WMO guidance and protocols. This enables more robust cross-checking of records. We argue that the Met Éireann-recognised 20th century heat record from Boora in 1976 is verified as the most plausible robust national temperature record based upon the synoptic situation and comparisons with nearby neighbouring stations. This measurement of 32.5 ∘C thus likely constitutes the highest reliably recorded temperature measurement in the Republic of Ireland. Ultimately, the formal decision on any reassessment and reassignment of the national record rests with the national meteorological service, Met Éireann.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: Reassessing; long-standing; meteorological records; example; national hottest day; Ireland;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Geography
    Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Institutes > Irish Climate Analysis and Research Units, ICARUS
    Item ID: 17431
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Conor Murphy
    Date Deposited: 16 Aug 2023 15:42
    Journal or Publication Title: Climate of the Past
    Publisher: European Geosciences Union (EGU)
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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