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March 2002

March 2002

(all temperatures in degrees Celsius; all averages 1961 – 1990)

Mean daily maximum: 10.9
Difference from average: +2.5

Mean daily minimum: 3.0
Difference from average: +1.5

Mean air temperature: 7.0
Difference from average: +3.0

Absolute maximum: 15.1 (21st)

Absolute minimum: -2.0 (13th)

Mean grass minimum: 1.1

Absolute grass minimum: -5.9 (12th)

Number of ground frosts: 14

Number of air frosts: 4

Mean soil temperature at 30cm depth: 6.3

Mean soil temperature at 100cm depth: 6.6

(all totals in millimetres; all averages 1961 – 1990)

Total for the month: 39.4
Difference from average: -11.8

Percentage of the average: 77%

Wettest day: 8.6 (15th)

Number of rain days (>0.1mm): 17

3-month total rainfall to 31st March: 161.4
Difference from average: +9.8

6-month rainfall total to 31st March: 283.7
Difference from average: -39.9

12-month rainfall total to 31st March: 530.4
Difference from average: -118.6

(Averages for 09:00 hours GMT)

Relative Humidity: 78.2%

(all averages 1961 – 1990)

Total for the month: 130.3 hours
Difference from average: +24.8

Percentage of the average:  124%

Mean daily sunshine: 4.2 hours
Difference from average: +0.8

Sunniest day: 10.8 hours (27th)

Number of days with no recorded sunshine: 2

Cumulative total sunshine since 1st January: 269.2 hours
Difference from average: +44.5


The mean wind speed: 14.3km/h [7.7kt]
Difference from average: -0.1km/hr

The highest gust: 94.5km/h [51kt] from 264° at 13:57 GMT on 6th


Comments on March 2002
March was a very mild month, 12th warmest on record since 1850.  Even so, a March mean of 10.9°C has, remarkably, been exceeded five times since 1990, so by the standards of the last decade or so, it was not unusual. As expected, both mean maximum and mean minimum were well above average.  There were, nevertheless, 14 ground frosts and 4 air frosts, suggesting cold, clear nights. This is borne out by sunshine hours being well above average, and rainfall somewhat below average. Even so, there were 17 “rain days” when more than 0.1mm rainfall was recorded. Generally, wind speeds were around normal for the time of year, but it was very windy in the early part of the month with a gust of 51kt on the 6th and 48kt on the 7th.

Professor Tim Burt
Department of Geography
Durham University