February 2012

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

Mean daily maximum: 8.2
Difference from average: +2.2

Mean daily minimum: 1.6
Difference from average: +1.3

Mean air temperature: 4.9
Difference from average: +1.7

Absolute maximum: 17.4 (28th)

Absolute minimum: -6.6 (8th)

Mean grass minimum: -1.2

Absolute grass minimum: -10.7 (8th)

Number of ground frosts: 18

Number of air frosts: 10

Mean soil temperature at 30cm depth: 4.4

Mean soil temperature at 100cm depth: 5.8

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

Total for the month: 13
Difference from average: -28.6

Percentage of the average: 31%

Wettest day: 4.6 (9th)

Number of rain days (>0.25mm): 9

Number of wet days (=> 1mm): 3

3-month total rainfall to 29th February: 98.0
Difference from average: -74.0

6-month rainfall total to 29th February: 204.4
Difference from average: -141.8

12-month rainfall total to 29th February: 534.6
Difference from average: -114.4

Humidity
(Averages for 09:00 hours GMT)

Relative Humidity: 83%

Sunshine
(all averages 1961 – 1990)

Total for the month: 82.6 hours
Difference from average: +17.2

Percentage of the average: 126%

Mean daily sunshine: 2.8 hours
Difference from average: +0.5

Sunniest day: 7.8 hours (19th)

Number of days with no recorded sunshine: 0

Cumulative total sunshine since 1st January: 170.3 hours
Difference from average: +51.1

ISSN1350-483

Comments on February 2012
February was, on average, a mild month, but nevertheless rather cooler than last year. Overall, it was the 33rd equal warmest February at Durham since 1850. It was very much a month of two halves: cold at the start, remarkably mild towards the end. The daily maximum temperature remained marginally below zero on the 4th and was less than 1°C on the 9th and 10th. By contrast, the maximum of 17.4°C on the 28th was the warmest ever February day in Durham since records begin. The previous record was 16.8°C, set in 1993. Durham was apparently the warmest place in the UK that day – the Pennines producing its very own “chinook” effect! In complete contrast, the absolute minimum on the night of the 8th was the lowest February temperature at Durham since 1994; the grass minimum the same night was the lowest since 1991.

February was also a very dry month, although only the driest since 2008; it was the 15th lowest February total since 1850. Sunshine was also above average, the sunniest February since 2009.

For the winter as a whole, this was the mildest (average 4.8°C) since 2007 and the 12th equal warmest on record. It was 33rd driest (98mm) winter on record, the lowest winter total since 2006. It was the 3rd sunniest winter on record (238.6 hours), beaten only in 2000 and 2007.

Professor Tim Burt
Department of Geography
Durham University