A 12-YEAR-OLD from Reading who took on the experts in a weather forecasting game run by the University of Reading (UoR) has been named the champion school player.

Ruth Harper, who attends Kendrick School, was among more than 70 school pupils to sign up for the Weather Game, which challenged players to predict the weather in locations all over the world using professional forecasting websites as a guide.

The six-week game came to a close last weekend, with the winners of the five categories all named on Monday.

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Another of the winners was revealed as a soon-to-be Reading Master’s student, who had signed up in the Guest category to learn a bit more about forecasting ahead of starting his Meteorology course this September.

As well as topping the school league table, Ruth finished 11th overall, beating dozens of experienced researchers at their own game.

With the Covid-19 lockdown and school holidays limiting activities on offer for children this summer, she turned to the Weather Game for entertainment.

It was also a chance to battle against her brother, eight-year-old Aidan, who finished fourth in the school category himself.

Ruth said: “I really enjoyed participating in the Weather Game as I often find it frustrating when forecasts aren’t accurate and my family and I end up in a thunderstorm when it was supposed to be bright and sunny.

"So I thought it would be fun to give it a shot and see how hard it can be.

“If there is anything that the Weather Game has taught me, it is that weather forecasting is no easy task.”

Explaining her champion forecasting methods, Ruth said: “In the first week, I looked at the weather that everyone had to forecast and was confused.

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"I had never encountered having to predict hours of sunshine or millimetres of precipitation.

"So I took a few wild guesses and ended up earning the highest score of mine throughout the six weeks.

“Over the following weeks, the things that I was confused about at first became clearer, though hours of sunshine still baffle me slightly.”

Aaron Readle, 25, is a Physics graduate living in Ipswich who will be starting the MSc Applied Meteorology Master’s course at Reading next month, having worked graduate tutor jobs for the past year.

He topped the table of 104 Guest players and finished fifth overall.

Aaron said: “Weather impacts our daily lives.

"My hobbies include sailing, mountaineering and flying, where understanding the evolution of weather is of particular importance.

“This definitely piqued my interest in finding out how different measurements are taken in meteorology and the instrumentation used for forecasters.

"Knowing how measurements are made and the necessary instruments to do so before my course starts will certainly be beneficial.”

The Weather Game has been run for Meteorology staff and students at Reading for several years, but this was the first time it had been opened up to the public.

Players were encouraged to look at numerous professional forecasts to spot similarities and differences, and then use their intuition to predict things like total rainfall, total sunshine and temperature highs and lows over each weekend.

The winner in each category was awarded a copy of the book 100 Years of Reading Weather, written by University of Reading meteorologists Stephen Burt and Dr Roger Brugge.