February 2020

(all temperatures in degrees Celsius; all averages 1981 – 2010)

Mean daily maximum: 8.4
Difference from average: +1.3

Mean daily minimum: 2.3
Difference from average: +1.4

Mean air temperature: 5.4
Difference from average: +1.3

Absolute maximum: 11.3 (15th)

Absolute minimum: -1.3 (6th)

Mean grass minimum: 1.1

Absolute grass minimum: -3.9 (6th)

Mean concrete minimum: 1.1

Absolute concrete minimum: -2.7 (6th)

Number of ground frosts: 9

Number of air frosts: 3

Mean soil temperature at 30cm depth: 5.2

Mean soil temperature at 100cm depth: 6.3

(all totals in millimetres; all averages 1981 – 2010)

Total for the month: 87.2
Difference from average: +45.3

Percentage of the average: 208%

Wettest day: 22.0 (15th)

Number of rain days (>0.2mm): 22

Number of wet days (=>1.0mm): 14

3-month total rainfall to 29th February: 153.0
Difference from average: -19.0

6-month rainfall total to 29th February: 432.2
Difference from average: +86.0

12-month rainfall total to 29th February: 813.0
Difference from average: +164.0

(all averages 1981 – 2010)

Total for the month: 95.1 hours
Difference from average: +15.2

Percentage of the average: 120%

Mean daily sunshine: 3.3 hours
Difference from average: +0.5

Sunniest day: 7.7 hours (27th)

Number of days with no recorded sunshine: 1

Cumulative sunshine since 1st January: 175.5
Difference from average: +35.2

(all data from West Building roof, Lower Mountjoy)

Average wind speed: 11.1kph

Maximum gust: 80.5kph (16:15, 30th, W and 03:45, 17th, W)


Comments on February 2020
We have just had 2nd warmest winter on record in Durham, equal with 1998 and beaten only by 1989. February itself was equal 23rd warmest since 1850 yet a full degree cooler than last February which ranks third.

This was the 12th wettest February since 1850 and the wettest February since 2002. It has been the wettest 12-month period since the 12-month period ending in September 2016. Given two relatively dry months before February, winter rainfall was close to average. The highest daily total was 22mm on the 15th, associated with Storm Dennis. Strom Ciara on the 8th yielded a daily total of 14.6mm. There was some snow on 24th but it soon melted.

Despite being such a wet month, it was nevertheless the 21st sunniest February at Durham since 1882; February 2019 is the sunniest on record. Marginally less sunny than the previous winter, this was still one of the sunniest winters on record at Durham, ranking 6th sunniest since 1882.

February was a stormy and very windy month. Curiously, the same maximum gust (80.5kph) for the month was recorded on both 11th (in the wake of Storm Ciara) and 17th (just after Storm Dennis passed through). I have not as yet collated monthly mean wind speeds for the West Building, but my guess is that the average wind speed of 11.1kph is a record. The average daily wind speed exceeded 10kph on 15 days.

Emeritus Professor Tim Burt
Department of Geography
Durham University