Katesbridge, Northern Ireland

Posted: October 12, 2012 by tchannon in Analysis, Surfacestation



[update 16th Oct, I’ve just noticed this site holds a record low
March –14.8 °C Katesbridge (Co. Down) 2 March 2001 ]

This is a “special” without definite details. Commenter Sparks asked a question. I can’t definitely link this site with the public persona so be cautious.

It seems to be on the raised edge of some kind of flat floor to a shallow valley, presumably webtland (sic), as can be seen from Google ground level views. At the same time there are “field” boundaries.


It looks like a met enclosure, Google Street view reveals what looks like a Stevenson screen. The old MIDAS lists (circa 60,000 entries) show rain gauge stations thereabouts but the co-ords are old style not very helpful.

Katesbridge LCCR ID 9625, shows as 1983 onwards. Older site is mentioned.

Estimated Class 1, dependent on opinion about ground cover and fences.

UHI, none.

There again it might be nothing to do with the Met Office yet mention rainfall at Katesbridge this year

and temperature here


  1. Sparks says:

    Now that is interesting, if it is the station triggering the cold weather payments in Co, Down NI, and it is an Estimated Class 1, and if one of the other stations used are effected by UHI then a vulnerable elderly person could be effected during a real harsh winter, so the issue of UHI effects vulnerable people like the elderly in real world situations. And it shows how important. UHI actually is.

    Well-done, I believe it’s an important find!

    btw!! The issue and question came up when I was searching for the Armagh temperature record and this caught my eye about age UK.

    ” Payments are triggered when the daily temperature is, or is forecast to be, zero degrees celsius or below for a period of seven consecutive days.

    DUP assembly member Ian McCrea hit out at the payment system after it emerged that people living in his Mid-Ulster constituency – which saw the new record low for November of -9.5C on Sunday – had missed out.

    “Is it the case that the people here have missed out because it rose above zero for one day out of the seven, and will they now have to suffer for another seven days of freezing temperatures to qualify the next time around?” said the MLA. ”


    Katesbridge weather station triggers another Cold Weather Payment

  2. Michael Hart says:

    Just a passing comment, Tim:
    Those big black plastic bags will presumably have an effect if they are many, and near the centre. They presumably often may not be there when the site is constructed, and appear every year with the onset of the colder months?

    [Whether vegetative decomposition inside them is producing methane, CO2, and heat is another matter.]

  3. tchannon says:

    In my view the matter of what and when pales into very little beside the politics of having or needing to operate a rationing system without due cause. You want a correlation, try other people’s money and manipulators.

    Keep in mind that there might be people trying to help in spite of the politicians grubbing, we could do harm. Also remember the rules are purely arbitrary, have no basis, are whimsical. Just as validly a $30 recording thermometer could be put on a turret at Stormont and declare that if it reads 3 then something is done.

    There is a possibility, seems very likely that serious work was done on deriving a fair measurement set of stations based in part on their historic record in relation to historic cold snaps.

    When I commented to you back in September I had already seen this one. My judgement was it would be better to wait until most of the main stations are done, some being in the same context as Katesbridge.

  4. Sparks says:

    Tim, good point!

  5. caz says:

    It’s definitely the site Tim as a wind tower is clearly visible in the North East corner and I would imagine they are far too expensive for any amature setup.


    I just can not work out what the dark circular shape seen in the aerial view at the southern end of the compound is.


  6. tchannon says:

    Update. I’ve just noticed the site holds a low record and since this is in a formal publication the site is fair game for an opinion. Not going to do this now. Probably a 1 or 2.

    Click to access fact_sheet_No._9.pdf

  7. Entropic man says:

    You see a lot of areas like this in Northern Ireland. The brown area is indeed wetland, a raised peat bog, formed when a low-lying area became waterlogged or a small lake formed. This then became covered with sphagnum moss and built up a thick layer of acid peat to the level at which it became too far above the water table to grow any thicker. The result after a few millennia is a flat area with a mixture of moss, grass and heather on its surface.
    Various attempts have been made down the years to drain and cultivate areas like this. Drainage ditches are cut (the dark lines) and the land ploughed and seeded, usually as pasture. In this case the land has been left to revert to bog, with the remains of the plough ridges showing as lines of heather.
    The black plastic bags in the Google Street view are indeed bales of grass, cut from the green fields, wrapped mechanically as they are harvested and stored nearby as Winter feed for the cattle. To give scale, they are about 1.5M high and 1.8M across. At typical Ulster wind speeds any gases they produce are unlikely to affect local temperatures!
    What may affect the station output is the frost hollow effect. Being the lowest ground in the vicinity, the coldest air will settle onto the bog on still frosty nights and cause the station temperatures to read low. If this is the station which triggers Northern Ireland’s cold weather payments, it must have been chosen by a more than usually compassionate civil servant.

  8. tchannon says:

    Nice when someone independently writes what I suspected was the case. Thank you for filling in details.