Monday, 26 December 2011

A very mild Christmas

At this time last year we were just emerging from our biggest December freeze for 120 years. Snow lay on the ground. albeit in the form of large icy patches, and after a maximum temperature of just minus 0.9 Celsius on Christmas Day, Boxing Day dawned with a low of minus 6.8 Celsius. This December, mild, but unremarkably so, has not seen temperatures anywhere the values recorded last year. Yesterday (Christmas Day) was the mildest in this area for 13 years, and today, with the temperature nudging 13 Celsius, is also the mildest Boxing Day since 1998. Last year, the temperature failed to rise above 10 Celsius during the whole of December, but for snow lovers the rest of the winter was a dismall failure. A few flakes of snow were observed in the rain on 3 days during January and no snow fell in February. So what of the rest of the winter of 1998/1999? Apart from a brief snowy spell at the beginning of the second week of February, southwesterly winds prevailed bringing plenty of mild changeable weather; and this winter?........

Sunday, 11 December 2011

No snow......yet!

The Christmas trees are all lined up ready for the festivities, but this year it's looking as if the Christmas period will be green, as it usually is of course! On this day last year the temperature reached 8 Celsius, but it was also the first day of the month with no snow observed in the garden. The snow returned on the 16th, and although it was not a 'true' white Christmas with snow falling, there was enough of the white stuff around to produce a supply of icy snowballs. A white Christmas with snow falling is much rarer than a December without snow falling. There has been some snow falling in the last 3 Decembers, but prior to that 4 out of 6 Decembers were completely free of snow. Also, the definition of 'snow' to the meteorologist is any preciptation that contains snow flakes whether partially melted on not. So, a cold and wet day with the odd blob of very wet snow is registered as a 'day with snow' . It remains to be seen if this December gets it's day of snow, but in the last 40 years there have been 16 snow-free Decembers in this area. The odds of seeing snow this month are good.....but not very good!

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Second Best

The frost has left the banana looking sad but all the talk is about the warmth of November, the autumn and the year. In this area, November 2011 was the 2nd mildest since before 1900, the autumn (September, October and November) was also the second warmest since 1900. Currently the year 2011 is also the 2nd warmest since 1900! So, what does December need to make it number one. The year to beat is 2006. January and February were actually milder this year than in 2006 by about 1.5 degrees. The spring was much warmer this year by about 3 degrees. However, the summer was much cooler by almost 4 degrees. This autumn was less than a degree cooler than the autumn of 2006; so where does that leave the last month of the year. December 2006 was mild with a mean temperature of 7.7 Celsius. In fact, that made it the 5th mildest December since 1900. For 2011 to be the warmest year since 1900 this month needs to have a mean temperature of 8.6 Celsius. In December 1974 the mean temperature was 8.7 Celsius so the figure is achievable, but this year? No, pretty unlikely, second best again!