January 2016

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

Mean daily maximum: 6.8
Difference from average: +1.0

Mean daily minimum: 2.6
Difference from average: +2.4

Mean air temperature: 4.7
Difference from average: +1.7

Absolute maximum: 14.1 (24th)

Absolute minimum: -2.6 (17th)

Mean grass minimum: 0.8

Absolute grass minimum: -5.8 (17th)

Number of ground frosts: 13

Number of air frosts: 7

Mean soil temperature at 30cm depth: 5.7

Mean soil temperature at 100cm depth: 7.6

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

Total for the month: 116.6
Difference from average: +57.2

Percentage of the average: 196%

Wettest day: 28.4 (5th)

Number of rain days (>0.25mm): 23

Number of wet days (=> 1mm): 19

3-month total rainfall to 31st January: 341.4
Difference from average: +169.4

6-month rainfall total to 31st January: 532.2
Difference from average: +186

12-month rainfall total to 31st January: 809.9
Difference from average: +160.9

(averages for 09:00 hours GMT)

Relative Humidity: 89%

(all averages 1961 – 1990)

Total for the month: 32.3 hours
Difference from average: -21.5

Percentage of the average: 60%

Mean daily sunshine: 1.0 hours
Difference from average: -0.7

Sunniest day: 7.3 hours (15th)

Number of days with no recorded sunshine: 10


Comments on January 2016
January 2016 was a mild month: it was equal 24th highest mean air temperature, warmer than last year but 2014 was warmer. There was the equal 39th highest mean maximum since 1900 and the 7th highest mean minimum. The 24th was the warmest January day since 2003. There was the lowest number of ground frosts since 2008. There were 5 days with a maximum above 10°C but this is nowhere near the record of 17 in 1916. There were 10 nights where the minimum was above 5°C; only 1898 and 1916 have had more (11).

It was a very wet month, almost twice the January average; it was the third wettest January since 1850, the wettest January since the record-breaking January 1948 (192.1mm). The 3-month total to the end of January was the 10th wettest 3-month period since 1850 (n=1991) and the wettest three months since autumn 2000.

Whilst January 2015 was record-breaking for sunshine hours, 2016 was by stark contrast the 12th lowest total, but still well above the desperate total of 7.6 hours in 1996, the last time a January was less sunny in Durham.

Professor Tim Burt
Department of Geography
Durham University