February 2004

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

Mean daily maximum: 8.8
Difference from average: +2.7

Mean daily minimum: 3.0
Difference from average: +2.7

Mean air temperature: 5.9
Difference from average: +2.7

Absolute maximum: 15.4 (4th)

Absolute minimum: -2.5 (25th)

Mean grass minimum: 0.9

Absolute grass minimum: -4.4 (25th)

Number of ground frosts: 13

Number of air frosts: 8

Mean soil temperature at 30cm depth: 5.1

Mean soil temperature at 100cm depth: 6.3

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

Total for the month: 47.8
Difference from average: +6.2

Percentage of the average: 115%

Wettest day: 18.8 (1st)

Number of rain days (>0.25mm): 14

Number of wet days (=> 1mm): 9

3-month total rainfall to 31st January: 199.4
Difference from average: +41.5

6-month rainfall total to 31st January: 301.8
Difference from average: -26.1

12-month rainfall total to 31st January: 471.4
Difference from average: -177.6

Humidity
(Averages for 09:00 hours GMT)

Relative Humidity: 79.8%

Sunshine
(all averages 1961 – 1990)

Total for the month: 83.3 hours
Difference from average: +29.5

Percentage of the average: 127.4%

Mean daily sunshine: +0.6 hours
Difference from average: +0.6

Sunniest day: 8.5 hours (23rd)

Number of days with no recorded sunshine: 3

Wind

The mean wind speed: 15.9km/h [8.6kt]
Difference from average: +2.4km/hr

The highest gust: 83.3km/h [45kt] from 284° at 17:59 GMT on 10th

ISSN1350-483

Comments on February 2004
It may have seemed cold when the snow fell, but very warm days at the start of the month meant that February was, overall, a very warm month, the 9th equal warmest since 1850. The absolute maximum of 15.4 °C was the 3rd highest since 1962. For the winter as a whole, the mean air temperature was 5.1 °C, the 6th equal warmest on record (with 1869 and 1990); in recent times, there have been warmer winters – 1989 (6.3 °C) and 1998 (5.7 °C), the other warmer winters being 1975, 1863 and 1935. The 12-month running mean air temperature rose above 10 °C for the 3rd time in history; most remarkably, the current value of 10.15 °C is the highest on record – in other words, the last 12 months have been the warmest ‘year’ in Durham since records began.

Rainfall was around average. Three – and six-month totals have returned close to average, but the 12-month total remains well below average; the total of 471.4mm is the 59th lowest total on record in a series of over 1800 values.

It was a sunnier month than normal, and a little windier than usual.

Professor Tim Burt
Department of Geography
Durham University