February 2004

(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

(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

(Averages for 09:00 hours GMT)

Relative Humidity: 79.8%

(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


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


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