Javascript is disabled on this browser.
Javascript must be enabled for this website to display and function correctly.

Lerwick Magnetic Observatory

Photo of Lerwick Observatory instrument chamber in the snow Photo of the grounds of to Lerwick Observatory
Name Lerwick
Location Lerwick, Shetland Islands, United Kingdom
Latitude 60.138° N
Longitude 358.817° E
Elevation 85m
Geomagnetic Latitude 61.811° N
Geomagnetic Longitude 88.247° E
Orientation HDZF
In Operation since: 1922
INTERMAGNET member since: 1991

Geomagnetic coordinates are approximations calculated using the 13th generation IGRF at epoch 2020.5.


Lerwick Observatory is situated on a ridge of high ground about 2.5 km to the SW of the port of Lerwick. The surrounding countryside is moorland comprising peat bog, heather and rocky outcrops.

The observatory is operated by the Met Office as a meteorological station carrying out routine synoptic observations and upper-air measurements. Other work includes detection of thunderstorms, measurement of solar radiation, ozone and atmospheric pollution levels, and chemical sampling. BGS uses Lerwick as a seismological station, recording data from a local three-component broadband seismometer set.

Lerwick was established as a meteorological site in 1919 and geomagnetic measurements began in 1922. Responsibility for the magnetic observations passed from the Met Office to BGS in 1968.

Lerwick magnetic observatory is part of the INTERMAGNET network.

New measurements, new research

In March 2013 two electrode pairs were installed at Lerwick to measure the geo-electric field.