We've seen that climate varies in different parts of the world. Even in the UK the climate differs from one part of the country to another. The west tends to be cooler and wetter than the east, the north cooler than the south.

Temperatures decrease with altitude so the tops of hills and mountains such as the highlands of Scotland experience more snow in winter, and the snow tends to stay for longer than at lower altitude.

Although ECN doesn't yet have data spanning 30 years, you can still explore differences in climate around the UK by looking at meteorological (weather) data collected at ECN sites. See the exercise below.

Automatic Weather Station at ECN Cairngorms covered in ice and snow
The ECN weather station high in the Cairngorms during the winter


We are sorry, but the interactive data exploration tool required for this exercise is currently unavailable. We are working to create an alternative tool.

To look at ECN meteorological data:

  1. First, please read our conditions of data useBy clicking the link in step 2 you are confirming that you accept these conditions
  2. Accept the conditions of use and access the data (hint: open in a new window or tab)
  3. Summary ECN Automatic Meteorology data are selected. A pre-selected graph of average air temperature will load. Scroll to below the graph to find options for changing the graph that is displayed
  4. Date range: Data are shown for a three year period but you can choose a different date range
  5. Variable: Air temperature is selected for you but you can choose other variables to plot, for example minimum temperature, wind speed or total rainfall
  6. Sites: We've selected three ECN sites to start with: Wytham (southern England), Moor House (northern England) and Cairngorms (northern Scotland). These sites span a wide range from south to north. You could also include two westerly sites, North Wyke (south-west England) and Hillsborough (Northern Ireland)
  7. If you make any changes, click the button to submit your changes and view the new graph that is plotted
  8. Try answering the questions below.



  • Can you see a clear pattern in the data? For example are some sites generally cooler than others?
  • Do you think any patterns are due to the location of the sites? (Note: you can see the sites on a map and read a description of each. Hint: choose to view ECN terrestrial sites on the map.)
  • Which variables show a clear pattern of change from site-to-site and which do not?
  • Can you see any differences between the data for summer and winter (i.e. seasonal variation)?


Conditions of data use

  • The ECN Data Centre Summary Database and its component datasets are proprietary products of NERC on behalf of the ECN Data Centre and its sponsors and thus protected by Copyright law. NERC reserves all rights of ownership and copyright in these data.
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