Celsius’ weather observations 300 years

Uppsala has one of the world’s longest series of weather observations. The observations date back to 12 January 1722 by Anders Celsius and his professor Erik Burman. Every day they went outside to record the temperature, air pressure and wind direction. Over the years many different people have contributed to the data series, and in January 2022 the series will become 300 years long.

We start our jubilee year with a symposium 12 January 2022. The page will be updated with further activities during the year.

Celsius symposium 12 January 2022

On the day of the 300th anniversary of Anders Celsius’ series of weather observations, the Department of Earth Sciences invites all to a jubilee symposium. Take part and learn more about Celsius’ contributions to climate research, how we use the weather data to develop climate models and listen to researchers and experts who discuss what we can expect of the climate in the future. We invite researchers in Sweden and beyond, Master’s students, PhD students and the general public.

The symposium will be held in English.

Full details and programme for the symposium

Attend online

Register here no later than 10 January 2022 if you wish to take part online
A Zoom link will be sent to your email address.

Attend in person

Register here no later than 20 December to attend in person. The number of seats is limited.

We hope to see you all there!

How it all started

Anders Celsius lived 1701–1744 and was the person who developed the Celsius temperature scale, which is used nearly all over the world today. A few years after the weather measurements were started he was appointed professor at Uppsala University.

Meteorological measurements such as those Anders Celsius and his professor pioneered in 1722 are common today, but at that time measurements were rarely systematic. In addition, several different temperature scales were used, including the scales Delisle and Fahrenheit. It wasn’t until Celsius developed his temperature scale that measurements became consistent and comparable.

Weather data and statistics reaching back to the 1700s are very rare. There are only a few other locations with similarly long measurements: Berlin (1719), Lund (1740), St Petersburg (1743) and Stockholm (1756).

Valuable data for climate research

Today the measurements are automated. Every day, every second, values are recorded for precipitation, temperature, air pressure, relative humidity, ground temperature and solar irradiation. However, manual measurements are still being recorded as well. Every morning, at least one of our meteorology PhD students go out to the observation yard in Uppsala and measure precipitation and, if there is snow, snow depth.

Uppsala’s long series of weather data is now being used by researchers all over the world. The Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute also use the data as a basis for their weather forecast models and climate research.

So why are long series of weather data so important? Well, when we can see how weather and temperature vary over time we naturally get yet another important piece of the puzzle in our understanding of the climate.

This is worth celebrating

The purpose of this Celsius jubilee is to show the importance of weather data and how weather and climate research has developed. We naturally want to shine the light on Anders Celsius and the work he did, which laid the foundation for modern meteorology. We also wish for more people to become aware of the research conducted today within weather and climate.

Celsius–Linnaeus Lectures 2022

In 2022, Uppsala University will host different events celebrating 300 years of weather measurements in Uppsala. The annual Celsius–Linnaeus lectures will also be part of the celebrations, inviting five distinguished researchers, three Celsius lecturers and two Linnaeus lecturers.

Read more about the Celsius–Linnaeus Lectures 2022.

Weather photo contest

Mobile phone being used to photograph a sunset.

Take part in our weather photo contest which will run during the Celsius jubilee year 2022. You can submit up to ten images, either by sending your photo to kommunikator@geo.uu.se or by posting to Instagram and using the hashtag #Celsius300. We will pick one winner each month and the jury consists of metorologists at the Department of Earth Sciences at Uppsala University.

The best weather photos will be published on the Department of Earth Sciences website with the photographer’s name and a description of the weather phenomena visible in the photo, written by the meteorologists at the department. The winning images will be published in a calendar by Uppsala University. The winners will also receive an Uppsala University hoodie, value SEK 450.

Rules

  • The contest is open for everyone between 1 November 2021 to 30 November 2022.
  • The photo must be taken by you.
  • You can submit up to 10 photos.
  • Write where the picture was taken and approximate date and time.
  • Remember to write your name and where we can contact you.
  • If you post and tag on Instagram your Instagram account must be open, not private. 

By using the hashtag #Celsius300 you give your approval for us to publish the pictures in our internal and external channels. If you photograph people you must have their consent.  

Good luck!

Last modified: 2021-11-26