Welsh volunteer marks 75 years of measuring rainfall with award

A volunteer who has measured rainfall at the same location on Anglesey for the last 75 years has been recognised by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and the Met Office.

Mr Tom Bown, who is 85 years old, has measured rainfall at Llwydiarth yr Esgob Climate Station in Llannerchymedd at 9:00am every morning since 1958. Mr Bown was awarded with a Storm Glass and a plaque to highlight his 75-year anniversary.

He records daily precipitation in a Casella Daily Storage Rain Gauge. The water from the glass bottle stored within the gauge is poured into the calibrated 10mm measuring cylinder and is then recorded as the previous days’ total precipitation.

Precipitation is measured for various and important purposes across the UK by different monitoring authorities and private observers. These include trend analysis, precipitation event analysis, water balance calculations, potential run off, river flow forecasting, flood warning services and river regulation.

Detailed weather records have been kept for centuries. In 1854 the Met Office, the national meteorological office for the UK was first established under the leadership of Captain Robert Fitzroy for the Board of Trade.  Llwydiarth yr Esgob climate station has been providing daily rainfall totals since 1908.

Clare Pillman, NRW Chief Executive, said:

“To take recordings every day for over 75 years is a remarkable achievement which we are extremely grateful for. Good reliable observers such as Mr Bown play a very important role in the study of the climate in the UK.
“Only by such comprehensive monitoring can we produce accurate long-term records of what is happening to the climate. Mr Bown’s efforts are greatly appreciated within the scientific community and the data he has supplied is important for the work they do and our Hydrometric archives.
“I would like to extend my thanks to Mr Bown for his commitment over the years and congratulate him on his service.”

Stuart Herridge, the Met Office, said:

“The Met Office, NRW and other scientific bodies are reliant on high quality data to do much of their work. We depend on reliable volunteer observers to collect some of this data. To record over a century worth of data from one site is rare and valuable. However, for one person to have done the readings for 75 of those years is remarkable.”
“We are extremely grateful to Mr Bown for his commitment and hard work. The scientific community is in a better position thanks to the work carried out by such committed volunteers.”

To find out more about volunteering opportunities at NRW please visit our Placements page.