November 2003

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

Mean daily maximum: 10.6
Difference from average: +1.9

Mean daily minimum: 4.4
Difference from average: +1.6

Mean air temperature: 7.5
Difference from average: +1.8

Absolute maximum: 15.7 (7th)

Absolute minimum: -3.7 (24th)

Mean grass minimum: 2.9

Absolute grass minimum: -5.5 (24th)

Number of ground frosts: 8

Number of air frosts: 4

Mean soil temperature at 30cm depth: 7.8

Mean soil temperature at 100cm depth: 10.3

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

Total for the month: 17
Difference from average: -45

Percentage of the average: 27%

Wettest day: 4.2 (30th)

Number of rain days (>0.25 mm): 9

Number of wet days (=> 1 mm): 5

3-month total rainfall to 30th November 2003: 102.4
Difference from average: -57.6

6-month rainfall total to 30th November 2003: 203.2
Difference from average: -137.6

12-month rainfall total to 30th November 2003: 432.6
Difference from average: -216.4

(Averages for 09:00 hours GMT)

Relative Humidity: 87%

(all averages 1961 – 1990)

Total for the month: 57.7 hours
Difference from average: -8.4

Percentage of the average: 87%

Mean daily sunshine: 1.9 hours
Difference from average: -0.3

Sunniest day: 5.7 hours (6th)

Number of days with no recorded sunshine: 3

Cumulative total sunshine since 1st January: 1419.1 hours
Difference from average: +135.5


The mean wind speed: 13km/h [7kt]
Difference from average: -0.5km/hr

The highest gust: 79.6km/h [43kt] from 230° at 06:30 GMT on 19th.


Comments on November 2003
November was a warm month, 10th equal warmest on record since 1850. Both mean daily maximum and mean daily minimum were well above average. The absolute maximum (15.7 °C on the 7th) was the warmest November day since 1996, whereas the absolute minimum (-3.7 °C on the 24th) was the lowest since 1992. For autumn as a whole, it was the 16th equal warmest on record (10.0 °C), but somewhat below the remarkable figure for 2003 (11.1 °C).

The Durham raingauge is now working properly again. Only 17 mm rainfall was recorded for November, a very dry month therefore – 8th driest since 1852 and the driest November in Durham since 1956.

I have now been able to estimate monthly totals for September and October using data from the nearly Barker’s Haugh gauge (with grateful thanks to Rachel Merrix at the Environment Agency) as follows:

September: 53.2
October: 32.2

On this basis, the autumn total of 102.4mm is the 15th lowest on record, the driest autumn since 1989. Out of 1823 possible 3-month totals since March 1852, this total ranks only 280th, a not particularly low probability of 15%. The 6-month total, however, ranks 99th lowest and the 12-month total remarkably ranks 24th lowest (out of a total of 1813 12-month periods), the driest ‘year’ since 1988 / 89. It is clear therefore that we are now in a severe period of drought, exacerbated by the dry autumn.

Sunshine was just below average, but the accumulated total since 1st January remains well above average. There was a low number of days with no sunshine recorded (3); only 1999 has recorded an equally low total since 1950 (when my records begin).

Professor Tim Burt
Department of Geography
Durham University