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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 19 February, 2003, 16:59 GMT
Altnaharra is not the Sahara
Negev desert
The humidity reading was lower than the hottest desert

A Highland village has not set a new UK record for low humidity despite weather reading equipment indicating it had, according to the Met Office.

The reading showed that Altnaharra in north west Scotland was drier than the hottest desert on Tuesday.

However, the Met Office has said that equipment, which showed humidity at 1.6%, was incorrect.

Met Office meteorologist Andy Yeatman said the humidity was still exceptionally low, at about 8% it was lower than most deserts.

Most scientists have now acknowledged that recording figures this low are very, very difficult and it's still difficult to put an exact figure on it
Andy Yeatman
Met Office
Mr Yeatman said that all observations were verified the following day.

He said: "It now looks as though the humidity at Altnaharra wasn't quite as low as we first thought but in any case it was exceptionally low, somewhere around 8%, still lower than most deserts.

"I think the essence is here that when you get to these exceptionally low humidities it's difficult to nail the exact figure."

He said the problem came down to how humidities were measured.

"We use two different thermometers, one with the bulb coated in water, when that water freezes there can be complications with the actual humidity figure.

"I don't think it is embarrassing. Most scientists have now acknowledged that recording figures this low are very, very difficult and it's still difficult to put an exact figure on it."



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Andy Yeatman, Met Office
"Recording figures this low can be very difficult"



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