January 2020

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

Mean daily maximum: 9.2
Difference from average: +2.7

Mean daily minimum: 3.1
Difference from average: +2.2

Mean air temperature: 6.2
Difference from average:

Absolute maximum: 14.0 (1st)

Absolute minimum: -1.4 (1st)

Mean grass minimum: 1.6

Absolute grass minimum: -4.2 (19th)

Mean concrete minimum: 1.5

Absolute concrete minimum: -3.0 (19th)

Number of ground frosts: 9

Number of air frosts: 3

Mean soil temperature at 30cm depth:

Mean soil temperature at 100cm depth:

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

Total for the month: 33.0
Difference from average: -19.3

Percentage of the average: 63%

Wettest day: 14.0 (8th)

Number of rain days (>0.2mm): 11

Number of wet days (=>1.0mm): 6

3-month total rainfall to 31st January: 172.4
Difference from average: +0.4

6-month rainfall total to 31st January: 426.2
Difference from average: +80.0

12-month rainfall total to 31st January: 756.2
Difference from average: +107.2

(all averages 1981 – 2010)

Total for the month: 80.4 hours
Difference from average: +19.9

Percentage of the average: 133%

Mean daily sunshine: 2.6 hours
Difference from average: +0.6

Sunniest day: 6.3 hours (20th)

Number of days with no recorded sunshine: 0

(all data from West Building roof, Lower Mountjoy)

Average wind speed: 6.1kph

Maximum gust: 82.1kph (18:00, 30th, WNW)


Comments on January 2020
This was the 5th warmest January on record at Durham since 1850. The mean maximum temperature was the 4th highest since 1900 (when a Stevenson screen was first installed) and the mean minimum temperature was equal 2nd warmest since 1900. For all three measures of January temperature, 1916 holds the record – it must have seemed a remarkably mild winter month indeed. The maximum temperature of 14.0°C on the 22nd is the 9th highest maximum temperature ever recorded at Durham in January, with 13.7°C on the 7th the equal 13th warmest January day. Altogether there were 12 days with maximum temperatures of at least 10°C, the equal 11th highest total for any January; 1916 holds the record with 17 days. There were just 3 air frosts, the equal 2nd lowest total in January (with 1882 and 1938); there were just 2 air frosts in January 1989.

It was a dry month, although not nearly as dry as last year; this was the equal 48th driest January since 1850 so not quite in the lowest quartile. January was a sunny month, sunnier than January 2019, making this the sunniest January since 2015 and the 8th sunniest January since records began in 1882. It was also a windy month, especially in the last few days, with a gust of 82.1kph on the 30th.

Emeritus Professor Tim Burt
Department of Geography
Durham University