Natural Philosophy Collection

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Up BSHSdisplay » Meteorological Instruments at Aberdeen Slideshow

There has been an academic interest at Aberdeen in measurement of the weather at least since the 18th century.  Professor Patrick Copland of Marischal College had amongst his equipment several barometers and mountain barometers, De Luc’s hygrometer, thermometers and a ‘pluviameter’ with two tops, namely a raingauge.  Professor David Thomson of King’s College was instrumental in making the Cromwell Tower Observatory into one of the seven stations in the first national network of weather observatories, co-ordinated from Kew.  You can still see the original 4-cup anemometer of Robinson’s design whirling above the King’s College roofs beside the accompanying wind vane.  The mechanical recorder attached to these devices is in our collection.

The Cromwell Tower meteorological observatory continued in action until 1947.  George Aubourne Clarke was Observer there for several decades from the beginning of the 20th century, taking cloud pictures that became the defining examples for meteorologists around the world.

In a separate hut near King’s College, Gordon Dobson set up one of his pioneering ozone absorption spectrometers that returned daily observations for almost the whole of WWII, 1939 – 1944.  In the 1960s a solar-radiation station was established on the roof of another building at King’s College as part of the national solar radiation network and daily readings returned for almost 40 years.

Meteorology continues to be taught in the University and weather elements continue to be recorded by outstations relevant to zoology.  Our instrument collection has around 100 instruments relevant to weather variables.


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