February 2005

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

Mean daily maximum: 7.2
Difference from average: +1.1

Mean daily minimum: 1.3
Difference from average: +1.0

Mean air temperature: 4.3
Difference from average: +1.1

Absolute maximum: 13.2 (4th)

Absolute minimum: -2.4 (16th)

Mean grass minimum: -0.3

Absolute grass minimum: -6.4 (16th)

Number of ground frosts: 17

Number of air frosts: 9

Mean soil temperature at 30cm depth: 4.7

Mean soil temperature at 100cm depth: 6.6

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

Total for the month: 32.4
Difference from average: -9.2

Percentage of the average: 78%

Wettest day: 11.6 (25th)

Number of rain days (>0.25mm): 12

Number of wet days (=> 1mm): 8

3-month total rainfall to 28th February: 74.8
Difference from average: -83.1

6-month rainfall total to 28th February: 229.2
Difference from average: -98.7

12-month rainfall total to 28th February: 634.5
Difference from average: -14.5

Humidity
(Averages for 09:00 hours GMT)

Relative Humidity: 84.1%

Sunshine
(all averages 1961 – 1990)

Total for the month: 60.9 hours
Difference from average: -4.5

Percentage of the average: 93.1%

Mean daily sunshine: 2.0 hours
Difference from average: -0.3

Sunniest day: 5.2 hours (18th)

Number of days with no recorded sunshine: 2

Cumulative total sunshine since 1st January: 117.6 hours
Difference from average: -1.6

Wind

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

The highest gust: 79.6km/h [43kt] from 279° at 08:17 GMT on 12th

ISSN1350-483

Comments on February 2005
Despite feeling rather cold at times, February was, overall, a mild month, well above the long-term average and ranking 101st in a series of 156 years. Perhaps a run of very mild winters has made us overly sensitive to colder months, imagining them to be more extreme than is the case; in fact, one only has to go back to 2003 to find a much colder February! Rainfall was, once again, below average and all three long-term totals have fallen below average. Sunshine was close to average, although there were only two days in the month with no bright sunshine at all.

For the winter as whole, it was both very mild and very dry. It was the 10th warmest winter on record since 1850, although 0.2°C cooler than in 2004. Perhaps more unusually, it was one of the driest winters on record, 11th driest since 1853 and the driest since 1973. Five of the ten driest winters were experienced in the 19th Century, when winter and summer rainfall totals tended to be similar; in recent decades, winters have tended to be wetter than summers, so a winter as dry as this one is something of a rarity therefore.

Professor Tim Burt
Department of Geography
Durham University