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August 2008

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

Mean daily maximum: 19.0
Difference from average: 0

Mean daily minimum: 12.1
Difference from average: +1.6

Mean air temperature: 15.6
Difference from average: +0.9

Absolute maximum: 22.1 (7th)

Absolute minimum: 7.7 (21st)

Mean grass minimum: 9.6

Absolute grass minimum: 4.0 (9th)

Number of ground frosts: 0

Number of air frosts: 0

Mean soil temperature at 30cm depth: 16.9

Mean soil temperature at 100cm depth: 16.3

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

NB: gauge faulty – estimate from Met Office website

Total for the month: 94.3
Difference from average: +27.2

Percentage of the average: 141%

3-month total rainfall to 31st August: 302.2
Difference from average: +131.8

6-month rainfall total to 31st August: 440.5
Difference from average: +119.7

12-month rainfall total to 31st August: 718.5
Difference from average: +69.5

(Averages for 09:00 hours GMT)

Relative Humidity: 84%

(all averages 1961 – 1990)

NB: gauge faulty – estimate from Met Office website

Total for the month: 110 hours
Difference from average: -45.5

Percentage of the average: 71%

Mean daily sunshine: 3.5 hours
Difference from average: -1.5

Cumulative total sunshine since 1st January: 1016.6 hours
Difference from average: +16.1


The mean wind speed: 10km/h [5.4kt]
Difference from average: -1.5km/hr


Comments on August 2008
We have continued to have problems with the sunshine recorder and, from the middle of the month, with the rain gauge. This remains an interim report as far as sunshine is concerned, but rainfall data have been corrected using Environment Agency data from nearby Barker’s Haugh.

Mean maximum temperature was exactly average but mean minimum temperatures were well above average (but only the highest since 2004); consequently mean air temperature was above average. We had the lowest daily maximum in August since 1992. Despite mean monthly temperatures continuing to be above average, the average temperature for the 12 months to the end of August is almost 1°C lower than for the corresponding 12-months to the end of August 2007.

It was another wet month; the Met Office website indicates rainfall about 150% of average in the north east. It was the wettest August since 2004 and ranks 132nd in 159 years. Sunshine hours were well below average only about 65% of normal.

For the summer as a whole, mean air temperature was 0.3°C above average, 103rd warmest in 159 years. It was the 8th wettest summer on record (302.2mm), easily beating last year’s total (254.4mm). Looking at pairs of summers, 2007 + 2008 (556.6mm) is the 3rd wettest pair on record since 1850, beaten only by 1930-31 (576mm) and 1866-67 (593.8mm). Despite feeling so dismal, average hours of bright sunshine were only just below average for the summer as a whole.

Professor Tim Burt
Department of Geography
Durham University