The Meteorological Office within Malta International Airport is shining the spotlight on its meteorological archives and their importance to weather-related research and the study of the Maltese islands’ climatology on International Archives Day.

The first entry of these archives dates to the 10th of July 1922, coinciding with the start of operations of the Meteorological Office in Malta under the management of the British Royal Air Force (RAF).

titl - Meteorological Office Archives

                                             A page from a Daily Observation Register dating to 10 July 1922

Amassed over nearly a century, this meteorological data is categorised in different collections, the most important of which are the Daily Observation Registers. A browse through these invaluable registers shows pages upon pages of weather observations documented at specific times of each day as well as hand-plotted synoptic charts, which formed the basis of weather forecasts prior to the advent of forecasting technologies.

titl - Meteorological Office Archives

                                              A hand-plotted synoptic chart dating to 28 November 1999

Other important collections forming part of the Meteorological Office’s archives shine a light on precipitation, sunshine, wind, and temperature trends on the Maltese islands throughout the years. While Malta enjoys a sunny reputation and is widely sought by visitors for its mild climate, archived documents serve as reminders of the rare instances when severe weather events, such as the thunderstorms of January 1978 and October 1982, did not spare the islands.

Whilst these archival documents are stored in a safe place where ambient conditions, including temperature and humidity, are constantly monitored, an ongoing digitisation project is aimed at ensuring that this meteorological legacy is truly preserved and protected for generations to come. The content of the Meteorological Office’s archives is not only unique to the Maltese islands, but is also regarded as an official source of climatological information, which allows for the all-important comparability of weather-related data over the years.

Recognising the importance of this trove of meteorological data, the Meteorological Office recently appointed its first Climate and Data Archivist, whose specialised skills and training are contributing to even better archive management and administration.

Published on: 09.06.2021