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13 November 2014

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You are in: Manchester > Science > Science features > How warm is Manchester?

Schoolgirl with thermometer

Keeping an eye on the weather

How warm is Manchester?

It's warmer in cities than in the countryside. But why? By how much? And why is it important? Get ready to take part in a unique weather experiment in Manchester on behalf of the Royal Meteorological Society.

Ever noticed that a light dusting of snow usually disappears quite quickly in Manchester? Yet drive out into the countryside, and the snow seems to ‘stick’ for much longer.

Sophie, Y12 and Sarah Y10 take temperature readings

Hundreds of pupils are taking part

It’s due to a phenomenon known as Urban Heat Islands (UHI). Cities are thought to be up to 10C warmer than rural areas but no studies have been done outside London to measure the actual variation.

Now, the Royal Meteorological Society (RMetS) has approached Altrincham Grammar School for Girls (AGGS) to help them take Manchester’s temperature for the first time.

They need thousands of readings from across Manchester on the morning of Friday 6 March 2009. So if you want to take part then read on...

How to take part

You can take part in the weather experiment by doing the following:

- record the temperature BEFORE 8.30am on Friday 6 March;

- text 'urban' to 60066 together with the temperature AND the postcode of the place where you measured it.

- eg. your text might read: 'urban 5.6 M1 7LL'

NB: all texts will cost your service provider's standard rate.

Car thermometer

Use your car's temperature gauge

If you are using a hand-held thermometer, leave it outside the night before; take the temperature one metre off the ground, and at least 3 metres from the nearest building.

If you are using a car with an in built thermometer, record the temperature before  08.30am and, when you arrive, immediately text 60066 with the reading and the postcode of the school/ place of work.


Nine students at AGGS played a key role in designing the experiment.

The girls will be handing out thermometers to fellow pupils with instructions to take the air temperature BEFORE 8.30am on Friday 6 March 2009.

Becky, a year 13 pupil, explained what they’ll be doing. "We’ll be taking readings at home or on the way to school," she said. "And a few of us will be driving around in teachers’ cars."

The students also came up with the idea of getting the Greater Manchester public to take part.

Why does it matter?

Dr Sylvia Knight is Head of Education at the RMetS. She said the project is being done to inform the design of future buildings so they can cool naturally without the need for air conditioning.

Katie (Y12); Sophie (Y12); Becky (Y13); Rachel (Y13); and Sarah (Y10)

AGGS: leading the investigation

"Our aim is to generate a really detailed picture of what Manchester’s temperature looks like. If we can get between 2,000 and 3,000 readings, that would be fantastic!" 

Kirsty, who’s in Year 12 at AGGS, has helped to plan the investigation.

"It’s important that we build sustainable buildings that can deal with the highest temperatures in towns and cities so that people aren’t affected by this," she said.

"And with global warming happening at such a high rate, it’s even more important."

Melissa Lord, Head of Science and Physics said it was a great learning opportunity to be working with the RMetS:

"The girls are not only learning about experiment design and climate, but also working with scientists on research that could have implications for city planning in the future."

We'll be following the experiment live on BBC Radio Manchester (95.1FM) at 8.30am on Friday 6 March.

last updated: 04/03/2009 at 17:38
created: 04/02/2009

You are in: Manchester > Science > Science features > How warm is Manchester?

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