January 2006

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

Mean daily maximum: 6.3
Difference from average: +0.5

Mean daily minimum: 1.3
Difference from average: +0.9

Mean air temperature: 3.8
Difference from average: +0.8

Absolute maximum: 11.9 (11th)

Absolute minimum: -4.4 (30th)

Mean grass minimum: 0.1

Absolute grass minimum: -7.2 (30th)

Number of ground frosts: 15

Number of air frosts: 9

Mean soil temperature at 30cm depth: 4.3

Mean soil temperature at 100cm depth: 6.3

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

Total for the month: 23.6
Difference from average: -35.4

Percentage of the average: 40%

Wettest day: 5.8 (19th)

Number of rain days (>0.25mm): 10

Number of wet days (=> 1mm): 6

3-month total rainfall to 31st January: 131.6
Difference from average: -46.7

6-month rainfall total to 31st January: 306.5
Difference from average: -46.9

12-month rainfall total to 31st January: 581.5
Difference from average: -67.5

(Averages for 09:00 hours GMT)

Relative Humidity: 88%

(all averages 1961 – 1990)

Total for the month: 48.5 hours
Difference from average: -5.3

Percentage of the average: 90%

Mean daily sunshine: 1.6 hours
Difference from average: -0.1

Sunniest day: 6.3 hours (31st)

Number of days with no recorded sunshine: 12


The mean wind speed: 12.2km/h [6.6kt]
Difference from average: -2.5km/hr

The highest gust: 85.2km/h [46kt] from 200° at 21:03 GMT on 10th


Comments on January 2006
Although there were some cold days, maximum temperature rose above zero every day. There were also some mild days too, with a monthly absolute maximum of 11.9°C on the 11th, although this was the lowest absolute maximum for January since 2001. Overall, all three temperature means were above average; mean air temperature was also the lowest since 2001.

The dry December continued throughout January, with only 40% of the expected monthly total. There were the fewest number of rain days since 1992, and it was the 25th driest January since 1852 (n=155). All three long-period totals are now below average again, although the long-term rainfall deficit in the North East is clearly much less serious than in the South East.

Despite grumbles in the media about the gloomy nature of January, sunshine totals were only just below average. However, the number of days (12) with no recorded sunshine was the largest total since 1996.

Professor Tim Burt
Department of Geography
Durham University