March Weather Review

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  • March Weather Review
    03.04.2008 08:49

    The main features of the month were:

     

    ·        The March most dominated by northerly winds since 1970

    ·        Wettest over England and Wales for 7 years

    ·        One of the coldest Easters on record

     

    Northwesterly and cyclonic weather types dominated March 2008, and the only anticyclonic interlude (during the third week) was transitory. Winds from a northerly quarter were more dominant than in any other March since 1970, and there was a notable Arctic outbreak which coincided with the Easter weekend. Overall, it was an unsettled month with frequent rain, and there were many cold days especially during the third and fourth weeks.

     

    Mean maximum temperature ranged from 11.0°C at Malvern (Worcs) to 4.9°C at Dalwhinnie (Inverness-shire), while mean minimum temperature varied between 7.2°C at St Mary’s (Scilly) and –0.7°C at Dalwhinnie. In most parts of the UK, mean maxima were 0.0-1.0degC below the 1971-2000 norm, while mean minima were within 0.5degC of the norm. However, in northern Scotland both values were between 1.0 and 1.5 degC below normal. The Central England Temperature (CET) of 6.2°C was 0.2degC below the 1971-2000 mean, making this March colder than that of 2007 but not as cold as that of 2006.

     

    There were few warm days, and for the first time since 1998 March’s absolute maximum was lower than February’s. The highest maximum at a standard site (i.e excluding rooftop sites) was 15.4° at Gravesend (Kent) on the 11th, while the lowest minimum was –11.4°C at Braemar (Aberdeenshire) on the 26th. The temperature remained below zero all day in a very few localities on both the 3rd and the 24th; the lowest maximum was –0.9°C at Braemar on the 24th.

     

    This was the wettest March, averaged nationally, since 2001. The monthly total, averaged over England and Wales, (including an estimate for the 31st) was 99mm, which is 35 per cent above the long-term mean. The equivalent figures for Scotland were 98mm and 33 per cent above, and for Northern Ireland 97mm and 51 per cent above. Locally in East Anglia it was the wettest March since 1947.  Monthly totals ranged from 370mm at Inveruglas (Dunbartonshire) to 33mm at Inverbervie (Kincardineshire).

     

    Sunshine duration was above the average in many parts of the UK (except for southeast England), but it was not as sunny a month as February by a long way (even in absolute terms). Averaged over England and Wales, the monthly total (with an estimated amount for the 31st) was 117 hours, which is 7 per cent above the long-term mean – less than in March 2007 but more than in March 2006. The equivalent figures for Scotland were 120 hours and 20 per cent above, and for Northern Ireland 119 hours and 12 per cent above. Monthly sunshine aggregates ranged from 61 hours at Kinlochewe (Wester Ross) to 139 hours at Leuchars (Fife) and Copley (Durham).

     

    Regional Breakdown

     

    Difference from the average (1971-2000)

    Mean Max

    (deg C)

    Mean Min

    (deg C)

    Rainfall

    (per cent)

    Sunshine

    (per cent)

     

     

     

     

     

    Scotland (Highlands and Islands)

    –1.1

    –0.8

    123

    121

     

     

     

     

     

    Scotland - Central Belt and east coast

    –0.9

    –0.4

    143

    118

     

     

     

     

     

    Northeast England

    –0.2

    +0.1

    121

    122

     

     

     

     

     

    East Anglia

    –0.5

    +0.3

    122

    111

     

     

     

     

     

    Midlands

    –0.3

    +0.3

    128

    109

     

     

     

     

     

    Southeast England

    –0.5

    +0.5

    164

    90

     

     

     

     

     

    Northwest EnglandandNorth Wales

    –0.2

    –0.2

    116

    104

     

     

     

     

     

    Southwest EnglandandSouth Wales

    –0.4

    +0.2

    121

    101

     

     

     

     

     

    Northern Ireland

    –0.9

    –0.5

    151

    111

     

     

     

     

     

    Irish Republic

    –0.6

    –0.4

    139

    103

     

     

     

     

     

     

    © Philip Eden 080331