MET OFFICE: Mild February marks the end of a dry Winter

From Met Office

Mar 1, 2017 3:46 PM

Preliminary statistics show that the 2016/17 winter has been dry and mild compared to the long-term average. Meanwhile, early February statistics show a milder than average month to end the season.

February has brought winter to a close with above normal temperatures for all areas of the country, with the UK mean temperature 1.6°C above the 30-year average. Fermanagh has been closest to its 4.5°C average at just 0.8°C above, while Suffolk has been furthest from its average with an anomaly of 2.2°C above its long-term average mean temperature of 4.2°C.

North Scotland is the only region to have seen more sunshine than average, with 74.8 hours of sunshine making 132% of its long-term average. North-west England and Wales has had the least sunshine with just 40.9 hours, 60% of its average. This is reflected in the UK total, which is 55.1 hours of sunshine, 79% of the average.

February’s driest county has been Essex, with just 35.3mm of rainfall; the wettest has been Dunbartonshire with 228.9mm. The driest region compared to its average is Moray with 74% of its normal monthly rainfall total, and the Isle of Man is the wettest with 163% of its average monthly rainfall total.

Provisional February 2017 data

Mean temp (°C)

Sunshine (hours)

Rainfall (mm)

Actual

Diff from avg

Actual

% of avg

Actual

% of avg

UK

5.3 1.6 55.1 79 93.9 106

England

5.9 1.8 53.5 72 62.0 103

Wales

5.6 1.7 43.4 62 125.9 113

Scotland

4.0 1.3 62.3 99 141.3 109

N Ireland

5.3 1.0 47.5 71 74.9 89

 

Statistics for the whole of winter 2016/17 show that this winter has been much milder than average across the whole of the UK. In fact this winter has been provisionally the fourth mildest on record for Scotland and the fifth mildest winter for Northern Ireland. The UK as a whole has seen the ninth mildest winter on record.

Interestingly the winters of 2013/14 and 2015/16 were both milder than this winter; however the key difference is that those winters were also very wet and often stormy. Conversely, the 2016/17 winter has been very settled and much drier in comparison thanks to extended periods of blocked high pressure conditions.

It has also been a dry winter, with the UK receiving 76% of its average seasonal rainfall, 251.9mm in total. Northern Ireland has been the driest with 66% of its average (206.4mm), making the 2016/17 winter its third driest winter on record.

Climate Scientist Dr Mark McCarthy from the National Climate Information Centre said: “This winter has been dry for most of the UK. What is unusual is the combination of mild and dry conditions, as these factors do not usually go hand in hand in a typical UK winter. This is due to spells of high pressure bringing settled calm conditions being mixed in with depressions that have pulled warm air up from the south.”

Provisional 2016/17 Winter data

Mean temp (°C)

Sunshine (hours)

Rainfall (mm)

Actual

Diff from avg

Actual

% of avg

Actual

% of avg

UK

5.0 1.3 154.0 98 251.9 76

England

5.2 1.0 171.8 98 162.3 70

Wales

5.5 1.3 134.6 84 307.1 71

Scotland

4.4 1.7 133.6 104 393.3 83

N Ireland

5.6 1.3 132.8 90 206.4 66

*These maps include data from 1 December 2016 up to and including 26 February and will be updated once the final data has been incorporated.

The extended outlook for the UK as we head in to Spring shows that an unsettled picture is likely as frontal systems move into the UK from the south or south-west, bringing wet and windy weather at times. Between frontal systems, there should be some spells of brighter weather with showers which may be wintry at times in the north. Nevertheless, some brief quieter, drier spells are also likely.

MET OFFICE RECAP OF DECEMBER-JANUARY 16-17

Winter 2016/17

The following represents an assessment of the weather experienced across the UK during Winter 2016/17 so far (December and January) and how it compares with the 1981 to 2010 average.

This has been a rather dry winter so far, with any unsettled and stormy spells of weather being relatively brief, in contrast to some recent winters. It has also been quite mild, in northern areas of the UK especially. Up to the end of January, only three ‘named storms’ had occurred, compared with eight by the same stage last winter. December 2016 was a mild month, ranking as the eighth mildest December for the UK as a whole in a series since 1910, although some way below the exceptional mildness of December 2015.  January 2017 was also rather mild over Scotland and Northern Ireland, with some particularly mild days towards the end when temperatures reached around 14 °C in places. December was very dry over southern England, whereas January was particularly dry in northern and western areas.

December 2016 was milder than average in all areas, by as much as 3 °C over parts of Scotland, and the UK monthly mean temperature was +2.0 °C above the long-term average. For Scotland it was the equal third warmest December in a series since 1910. January 2017 was milder than average over northern areas, but, with high pressure at times bringing cold air in from Europe, it was often cold over central and south-eastern parts of England where the month as a whole was a little colder than average.  For the UK overall, January saw a mean temperature anomaly of +0.2 °C.

December was drier than average over England and Wales, with only a quarter of the average rainfall in the south, but amounts were near or just above normal in central and northern Scotland. In January it was Scotland and Northern Ireland that were particularly dry, with rainfall near or just above average over the Midlands and most of southern England. The UK overall recorded 69% of average rainfall in December, and 62% in January.

December was a rather dull month over Scotland but sunnier than average in central and eastern England. January was sunnier than average in most areas, substantially so in parts of Scotland and southern England. Sunshine totals for the UK overall were 104% of average in December and 120% of average in January.

UK statistical summary
Mean Temperature Rainfall Sunshine
The provisional mean value is 4.9 °C, which is 1.1 °C above the 1981-2010 average. The provisional total is 158 mm, which is 65% of the 1981-2010 average. The provisional total is 99 hours, which is 112% of the 1981-2010 average.

Last updated: Feb 3, 2017 11:30 AM

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