March 2008

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

Mean daily maximum: 9.1
Difference from average: +0.7

Mean daily minimum: 1.8
Difference from average: +0.2

Mean air temperature: 5.5
Difference from average: +0.5

Absolute maximum: 13.2 (20th)

Absolute minimum: -3.6 (5th)

Mean grass minimum: 0.0

Absolute grass minimum: -6.6 (5th)

Number of ground frosts: 15

Number of air frosts: 7

Mean soil temperature at 30cm depth: 6.0

Mean soil temperature at 100cm depth: 6.8

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

Total for the month: 23
Difference from average: -28.2

Percentage of the average: 45%

Wettest day: 5.2 (10th)

Number of rain days (>0.25mm): 13

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

3-month total rainfall to 31st March: 138.4
Difference from average: -13.4

6-month rainfall total to 31st March: 261.6
Difference from average: -62.1

12-month rainfall total to 31st March: 615.2
Difference from average: -33.8

Humidity
(Averages for 09:00 hours GMT)

Relative Humidity: 75%

Sunshine
(all averages 1961 – 1990)

Total for the month: 119.5 hours
Difference from average: +14

Percentage of the average: 113%

Mean daily sunshine: 3.9 hours
Difference from average: +0.5

Sunniest day: 7.5 hours (2nd)

Number of days with no recorded sunshine: 2

Cumulative total sunshine since 1st January: 288.4 hours
Difference from average: +63

Wind

The mean wind speed: 21.1km/h [11.4kt]
Difference from average: +5.3km/hr

The highest gust: 103.7km/h [56kt] from 247° at 2:28 GMT on 1st

[Note: the results given here are not based on “thrown back” values; adjusted values will be issued in due course]

ISSN1350-483

Comments on March 2008
Although March seemed cold, it was nevertheless warmer than average using 1961-90 figures [if slightly below average (-0.1) using 1971-2000 figures]. Indeed, March 2006 was colder! The mean air temperature ranks =100th in the 159-year record. There was the lowest absolute maximum since 1996.

Like last March, it was a dry month and all long-term averages are now below average. Sunshine was, however, only just above average, and hardly sunnier than February. The sunniest day was, unusually, the 2nd.

It was the windiest March since 1979, 5th windiest on record since 1953. It was very windy at the start of the month and just before the Easter weekend.

Professor Tim Burt
Department of Geography
Durham University