IT may not rain every day but that has not stopped the Radcliffe Meteorological Station checking without fail for the past 200 years.

Daily measurements have been taken at the Oxford station since January 1815.

Today its achievement as the UK’s longest continuous weather station, now in Green Templeton College, will be honoured as the Met Office presents the University of Oxford with an award.

At 9am in winter and 10am in summer, the same process is carried out by two students from the School of Geography and Environment.

The current guardians of the 200-year- old tradition are PhD students Amy Creese and Callum Munday.

Miss Creese said: “It’s amazing really that it’s been going for so long.

“It’s a responsibility taking the measurements every morning because it’s the longest in the UK but it’s also a really important record.”

They measure minimum and maximum temperatures, total rainfall, sunshine hours from the previous 24 hours and current air temperature, cloud cover, visibility and wind speed.

From reading mercury thermometers, to measuring water collecting in a rain gauge to using a 17th century technique to record sunshine hours, the methods have remained largely unchanged.

The 22-year-old said: “To measure sunshine hours for example, we use a small glass orb which focuses the sunlight onto a piece of card with the hours printed on it.

“If the sun is bright enough, it burns a hole in the card and by adding up the length of the burns, we can count the total number of sunshine hours.”

The records show that the wettest winter in the 200-year history was between December 2013 and February 2014, when severe flooding hit the city. Last year was also Oxford’s warmest since 1815.

Station director Prof Richard Washington said the unparalled records the station has compiled can help improve our understanding of climate change.

He said: “It provides a moment to pause and remember those with the foresight to embark on extraordinary efforts to record the weather each day so long ago – long before the justification of climate change was to hand.

“Ours is an old planet yet one with a very young observational record.

“Without those 200 years of data, nature – and the way we are influencing it – would be so much harder to understand.”

Met Office regional network manager Phil Johnson said: “Weather observation sites are crucial to the way that we observe and record the climate around the UK.”

He added: “We rely on skilled observers at sites such as Oxford to provide us with accurate data.”

Life in 1815

  • Napoleon was defeated by the Duke of Wellington at the Battle of Waterloo.
  • Jane Austen’s Emma published.
  • George III was on the throne and the Earl of Liverpool was Prime Minister.
  • The fourth President of the United States, James Madison, was in power.
  • Bull-baiting and cock-fighting were common and had yet to be abolished.
  • An agricultural and industrial depression brought about protests and riots throughout the country.