HL Deb 22 November 1971 vol 325 cc888-90

LORD CLITHEROE asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether in view of the fact that Parliament has not made any decision on the use of Centigrade rather than Fahrenheit, they will arrange for the Meteorological Office to give in their weather bulletins the temperatures in Fahrenheit as well as in Centigrade, seeing that the latter is not meaningful to many people in the English speaking world.


Since 1961 the Celsius scale, better known in this country as the Centigrade scale, has been the internationally agreed scale for the measurement of temperatures in meteorological work.

The Centigrade scale was first introduced into public weather forecasts issued by the Meteorological Office in 1962 and until recently the Fahrenheit equivalent was always given. The use and acceptance of the Centigrade scale is however increasing all the time. During 1970 recorded forecasts for the Automatic Telephone Weather Service and weather presentations of a number of independent television companies went over exclusively to degrees Centigrade. More recently the B.B.C., in consultation with the Meteorological Office, decided to omit certain of the Fahrenheit equivalents in their radio forecasts; the charts used for television forecasts also use only the Centigrade scale.

It seems likely that the Fahrenheit scale will eventually fall into disuse and it would be confusing to attempt to reverse this trend. There are obvious disadvantages in having two scales of temperature but the Meteorological Office will always give enquirers, on request, temperatures in the Fahrenheit scale as well as in the Centigrade scale.

House adjourned at twenty-five minutes before seven o'clock.