Surfacestation: Monks Wood

Posted: April 10, 2013 by tchannon in Analysis, Surfacestation


Monks Wood, Cambridgeshire
At Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
CEH Monks Wood

Met Office substitute site for RAF/USAF Alconbury
Bunkers site has some useful images.

52.401526° -0.236991°
Altitude 41 metres
Bing maps, Google maps.

Class 3, fails Class 2 on 12.9% within 30 metres not covered by low vegetation typical of the region, to wit, hedges. (part explanation for blog newcomers, to WMO-No. 1064, 2010, Met Office were present and are members of WMO but seem to continue using their own far less stringent standard, where scale is inverted, higher number is better, scale drawing and measurement is done using Draftsight over an image)

UHI, none but site has poor exposure. Within a wood.

Site came to my attention as recording the lowest night temperature -2.3C for East of England 8th April 2013. Not a serious matter.

An odd thing, look closely, the only explanation for the hedges being trimmed like that is a 30 metre circle from the screen. Sorry folks, nice try though, unless some strange other reason exists.

Confirmed at ground level.

Only thing I can think of is verbal misinterpretation: Met Office said hedges must be cut when grubbed out would have been more appropriate language.


Google Streetview manages to see past the incessant scrub by roads these days, a nice image where the Stevenson screen is visible, one of the curiously trimmed hedges and maybe a wind mast. If it is, too short to get above the trees. Not sure about the ground cover, needs to be <25cm all the year for Class 3.

In essence this is a case of a microclimate showing as a little too cold sometimes.

No big deal.

What is nearby is sometimes of interest and worth comment.

The facility in a wood which is supposed to be some kind of environmental treasure?

I counted 71 cars there with room for more.
Has its own little sewage works.
Doesn’t look right for an academic or normal government site.

Looking more closely at this wonderful wood, public access? Nothing, even has fences and keep out gates.

A fancy new house/accommodation place has been built 100 metres east but with poor road access. (look at the image history)

History? Google have 1945 images, try RAF Alconbury.

Post by Tim Channon

  1. rbrooke says:

    “In essence this is a case of a microclimate showing as a little too cold sometimes.”

    Not sure that temp is particularly extreme. I live ~5 miles from Monks Wood in a small village with significant woodland around the village. Not a dissimilar environment. Yesterday morning at ~6am there was a hard frost on my car and those of my neighbours. The sky was completely clear and it felt extremely cold. By 8 it had all gone and the temp was noticeably higher.
    Now as to what goes on at Monks Wood, I often wonder as I drive past, probably completely innocent, just doesn’t look like it.

  2. Bloke down the pub says:

    Class 3, fails Class 2 on 12.9% within 30 metres not covered by low vegetation typical of the region, to wit, hedges.

    How can you have low vegetation typical of the region when you’re located in the middle of a wood?

  3. tchannon says:

    Typical, in’init, always some smart arase at the bar on about the beach bum fluff.

    You are quite right of course there is a conflict. The objective is standardised conditions yet this is partially a matter of practicality. No low vegetation at the South Pole.

    The objective is Class 1 which In a wood must mean a large clearing, maybe 0.5 km. Needs 100m surrounded by open space, not trees. If there are mountains, rivers etc., whole thing is difficult…

    Perhaps a particular problem with woods is things grow which leads to known warming. As the effective horizon rises so does the temperature: exposure is about more than open to the wind.
    Horizon should be very low anyway, no vertical objects at all near.