March 2005

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

Mean daily maximum: 9.5
Difference from average: +1.1

Mean daily minimum: 3.7
Difference from average: +2.2

Mean air temperature: 6.6
Difference from average: +1.6

Absolute maximum: 15.7 (18th)

Absolute minimum: -2.7 (6th)

Mean grass minimum: 1.8

Absolute grass minimum: -5.4 (13th)

Number of ground frosts: 12

Number of air frosts: 7

Mean soil temperature at 30cm depth: 6.1

Mean soil temperature at 100cm depth: 6.6

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

Total for the month: 45.6
Difference from average: -5.6

Percentage of the average: 89%

Wettest day: 20 (27th)

Number of rain days (>0.25mm): 12

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

3-month total rainfall to 31st March: 112.2
Difference from average: -39.4

6-month rainfall total to 31st March: 255.2
Difference from average: -68.4

12-month rainfall total to 31st March: 651.8
Difference from average: +2.8

Humidity
(Averages for 09:00 hours GMT)

Relative Humidity: 83.1%

Sunshine
(all averages 1961 – 1990)

Total for the month: 64.9 hours
Difference from average: -40.6

Percentage of the average: 61.5%

Mean daily sunshine: 2.1 hours
Difference from average: -1.3

Sunniest day: 7.6 hours (3rd)

Number of days with no recorded sunshine: 9

Cumulative total sunshine since 1st January: 182.5 hours
Difference from average: -42.2

Wind

The mean wind speed: 15km/h [8.1kt]
Difference from average: +0.6km/hr

The highest gust: 87km/h [47kt] from 206° at 11:34 GMT on 16th

ISSN1350-483

Comments on March 2005
March was a mild month, with maximum temperatures well above average and minimum temperatures even more so (the highest mean minimum for March since 1997). Overall, mean air temperature was the same as last year and the highest since 1998 (equal 19th highest since records began). There were 12 ground frosts and 7 air frosts, but all in the first half of the month.

Rainfall was just below average, a dry month generally but with 20mm on the 27th raising the total to near average. It was a dull month too, with sunshine hours well below average, the 10th dullest March since 1882 and the worst since 1996. There were 9 days recorded with no bright sunshine, again the lowest number since 1996.

There was a particularly gloomy end to the month over the Easter weekend which was both wet and sunless.

Professor Tim Burt
Department of Geography
Durham University