March 2019

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

Mean daily maximum: 10.6
Difference from average: +1.1

Mean daily minimum: 3.7
Difference from average: +2.1

Mean air temperature: 7.2
Difference from average: +1.3

Absolute maximum: 16.0 (21st)

Absolute minimum: -0.5 (8th)

Mean grass minimum: 1.8

Absolute grass minimum: -3.2 (8th)

Mean concrete minimum: 2.6

Absolute concrete minimum: -1.9 (8th)

Number of ground frosts: 7

Number of air frosts: 1

Mean soil temperature at 30cm depth: 7.3

Mean soil temperature at 100cm depth: 7.3

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

Total for the month: 52.8
Difference from average: +8.9

Percentage of the average: 120

Wettest day: 13.4 (16th)

Number of rain days (>0.25mm): 18

Number of wet days (=> 1mm): 11

3-month total rainfall to 31st March: 95.0
Difference from average: -77.0

6-month rainfall total to 31st March: 251.8
Difference from average: -94.4

12-month rainfall total to 31st March: 533.6
Difference from average: -115.4

Sunshine
(all averages 1961 – 1990)

Total for the month: 120.6 hours
Difference from average: +6.4

Percentage of the average: 106%

Mean daily sunshine: 3.9 hours
Difference from average: +0.2

Sunniest day: 10.9 hours (20th)

Number of days with no recorded sunshine: 0

Cumulative total sunshine since 1st January: 313.1 hours
Difference from average: +58.6

Wind
(all data from West Building roof, Lower Mountjoy)

Average wind speed: 9.0kph

Maximum gust: 80.5kph (15th)

ISSN1350-483

Comments on March 2019
To large extent, March showed its usual “lion” and “lamb” colours. There were chilly, wet and very windy days in the first half of the month, with warm, dry, sunny days later on. Daily maximum temperature was above 10°C from 19th onwards with both 28th and 29th receiving more than 10 hours sunshine.

Unlike the rather cool March in 2018, this was the equal 10th warmest March since 1850, although only the warmest since 2017 (which ranks equal 7th warmest). Night-time temperatures were especially high, ranking equal 7th warmest, but again beaten by 2017 which ranks 3rd. Day-time temperatures were well above average too, ranking equal 23rd. The 12-month running mean is back above 10°C for the first time since June 2017.

The rainfall total was just above average. Other than 1st March, there was rainfall every day from 2nd to 18th, followed by 11 days with no rain at all!

Sunshine hours just managed to exceed the exceptional February total, notwithstanding three extra days in March!

This has been the 6th equal warmest start to a year (with 2000 and 2012). Of the top five, only 1938 comes before 1989.

Emeritus Professor Tim Burt
Department of Geography
Durham University