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Met Office SYNOP station: Altnaharra 03044

PostPosted: 2015 May 11, 20:56
by Eddy Graham
I had the good fortune to pass by and stop briefly at Met Office 03044 Altnaharra SYNOP station last week. I've included some photographs below of the site location. Altnaharra, of course, shares the record (with Braemar) of the lowest air temperature recorded in the UK (-27.2C on 30 Dec 1995; see Burt, 1997)

Although I could only spend 10 minutes at the station, my immediate impressions were the following:
- The site does not lie in a narrow glen, but rather near the lowest bridging point of a broad, sweeping vista of mountainous moorland; the mountains of NW Scotland are scattered, and do not encircle the entire site
- The nearby river is quite large and is fast-flowing, which surely moves /mixes the air in the direct contact with it (as many Alpine rivers do)
- My overall impressions were of a well-chosen site given the obvious limitations of the remote location. There is a copse of trees a few hundred metres to the SW. Altnaharra village itself (just to the south) has a population of only ~50.

The approach to Altnaharra from the east, looking west (the met enclosure lies immediately to the right of the barn)
tn_ScreenShot001.jpg (21.86 KiB) Viewed 984 times

View from the south-east:
tn_ScreenShot002.jpg (18.5 KiB) Viewed 984 times

View from the NW (Ben Kilbreck [962m] is snow-covered in background)
tn_ScreenShot003.jpg (28.81 KiB) Viewed 984 times

Eddie Graham, Stornoway

Burt, S. (1997). The Altnaharra minimum temperature of -27.2C on 30 December 1995, Weather 52: 134-144.