February 2003

Temperatures
(all temperatures in degrees Celsius; all averages 1961 – 1990)

Mean daily maximum: 6.6
Difference from average: +0.5

Mean daily minimum: -0.7
Difference from average: -1.0

Mean air temperature: 3.0
Difference from average: -0.2

Absolute maximum: 11.5 (26th)

Absolute minimum: -5.5 (15th)

Mean grass minimum: -2.2

Absolute grass minimum: -6.6 (14th)

Number of ground frosts: 22

Number of air frosts: 17

Mean soil temperature at 30cm depth: 3.1

Mean soil temperature at 100cm depth: 5.3

Rainfall
(all totals in millimetres; all averages 1961 – 1990)

Total for the month: 6.6
Difference from average: -35

Percentage of the average: 16%

Wettest day: 2.2 (11th)

Number of rain days (>0.25 mm): 4

Number of wet days (=> 1 mm): 1

3-month total rainfall to 28th February 2003: 160.6
Difference from average: +2.8

6-month rainfall total to 28th February 2003: 352.2
Difference from average: +24.3

12-month rainfall total to 28th February 2003: 681.8
Difference from average: +32.8

Humidity
(Averages for 09:00 hours GMT)

Relative Humidity: 86.5%

Sunshine
(all averages 1961 – 1990)

Total for the month: 110.2 hours
Difference from average: +44.8

Percentage of the average: 168%

Mean daily sunshine: 3.9 hours
Difference from average: +1.7

Sunniest day:  8.2 hours (19th)

Number of days with no recorded sunshine: 3

Cumulative total sunshine since 1st January: 169.1 hours
Difference from average: +49.9

Wind

The mean wind speed: 11.7km/h [6.3kt]
Difference from average: -1.8km/hr

The highest gust: 72.2km/h [39kt] from 311° at 12:54 GMT on 4th

ISSN1350-483

Comments on February 2003
February was a little colder than normal, a mixture of warmer days but colder nights, implying clear, sunny, anticyclonic conditions. Mean air temperature was the lowest for February since 1996. Both the absolute maximum and absolute minimum were the lowest since 1994, and there was the highest number of ground frosts since 1996. As might be expected from the temperature results, it was a dry and sunny month. Total rainfall was only 6.6mm, the 5th driest on record since 1850, although 1998 was in fact drier. The number of rain days (4) was the lowest for February since in 1961 (when the record available to me begins). Sunshine was the highest since 1988, and the 3rd highest since 1950 (again, when the record available to me begins). As expected, mean wind speed was also below average.

Professor Tim Burt
Department of Geography
Durham University