The Sunshine of London

Abstract

FOR some few years past sunshine recorders have been in operation at four stations situated in various parts of London; and in attempting to gain some idea as to the average duration of sunshine in the metropolis, one is met at the outset by the somewhat perplexing question as to which of these four is best calculated to yield a fair result. One recorder is placed in the heart of the City, at Bunhill Row; and exposed as it is to a maximum amount of smoke and fog there can be little hesitation in saying that its indications are, for the metropolis as a whole, greatly below the mark. Another is stationed somewhat more favourably at Westminster, on the roof of the Meteorological Office, but even there the influence of the surrounding chimneys is felt to a very serious extent, and many a fair winter's day has been known to pass without the registration of so much as a trace of bright sunshine. In a third instance the conditions are reversed, for at the Kew Observatory the air is almost as free from smoke and mist as it is in the open country, so that as a London record the sunshine instrument gives us too high a value. The fourth station appears, however, to be one which strikes a fairly even balance between the meteorological features of the City and those of the more open suburbs; for, although Greenwich is influenced to a greater extent by the impurities of London than Kew, it is sufficiently removed from the central parts of the metropolis to escape much of the fog and smoke which affect the recording instruments both in the City and at Westminster. From a careful examination, we are inclined to think that the Greenwich record supplies a very fair idea of the conditions which prevail over the metropolis as a whole; and as the observations of bright sunshine have now been made at the Royal Observatory for rather over fourteen years, sufficient material has accumulated for the deduction of average results. It is only such sunshine as is strong enough to burn the papers that is here dealt with.

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BRODIE, F. The Sunshine of London. Nature 43, 424–425 (1891). https://doi.org/10.1038/043424a0

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