Lerwick Observatory

A multi-purpose research station, which records meteorological, seismological and geomagnetic observations, the Lerwick Observatory is located on a ridge of high ground immediately to the southwest of Sound, between the A970 road and the Loch of Trebister, 2 miles (3 km) southwest of the centre of Lerwick. Situated 85m (278 feet) above sea level, the observatory is run jointly by Meteorological Office and the British Geological Survey (BGS). Established as a meteorological station in 1919, with regular weather observations taken since 1921 and geomagnetic measurements beginning the following year. Responsibility for geomagnetic observations passed from the Meteorological Office to the BGS in 1968.

The Meteorological Office undertake routine synoptic observations and upper-air measurements, together with other work which includes the detection of thunderstorms, measurement of solar radiation, ozone and atmospheric pollution levels, and chemical sampling.

Lerwick is one of only two stations in the UK where measurements of ozone are made, the other being in Cornwall. Ground-based Dobson Spectrophotometers are used daily to measure total ozone, which mostly exists in the stratosphere at a height of 5 to 19 miles (8 to 30 km). Ozone concentration profiles are also measured using balloon-borne ozonesondes.

The BGS records data relating to earthquakes across the globe from a local three-component seismometer, while Lerwick represents one of only three geomagnetic observatories operated by the BGS across the UK.

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