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February 2008

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

Mean daily maximum: 8.7
Difference from average: +2.7

Mean daily minimum: 0.7
Difference from average: +0.4

Mean air temperature: 4.7
Difference from average: +0.9

Absolute maximum: 14.7 (18th)

Absolute minimum: -6.5 (20th)

Mean grass minimum: -0.8

Absolute grass minimum: -8.8 (19th)

Number of ground frosts: 15

Number of air frosts: 11

Mean soil temperature at 30cm depth:

Mean soil temperature at 100cm depth:

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

Total for the month: 6.2
Difference from average: -35.4

Percentage of the average: 15%

Wettest day: 3.0 (5th)

Number of rain days (>0.25mm): 3

Number of wet days (=> 1mm): 3

3-month total rainfall to 29th February: 166.6
Difference from average: +8.6

6-month rainfall total to 29th February: 278
Difference from average: -50.2

12-month rainfall total to 29th February: 614.4
Difference from average: -34.6

(Averages for 09:00 hours GMT)

Relative Humidity: %

(all averages 1961 – 1990)

Total for the month: 111.7 hours
Difference from average: +46.3

Percentage of the average: 171%

Mean daily sunshine: 2.3 hours
Difference from average: +1.6

Sunniest day: 8.4 hours (25th)

Number of days with no recorded sunshine: 5

Cumulative total sunshine since 1st January: 168.9 hours
Difference from average: +49.7


The mean wind speed: 14.4km/h [7.8kt]
Difference from average: 0.0km/hr

The highest gust: 111.1km/h [60kt] from 192° at 14:51 GMT on 28th

[Note: the results given here are not based on “thrown back” values; adjusted values will be issued in due course]


Comments on February 2008
It was the 44th warmest February since 1850, a mild month therefore, but not exceptionally so. Night-time temperatures were only a little above average, but daytime temperatures were much more so – the mean maximum temperature was the 12th highest since 1900. There was an extraordinary range from -6.4°C to 14.6°; the night-time minimum went from -6.5°C on the 20th to +7.6 on the 24th! Despite the lowest minimum temperature since 1994, the number of ground frosts (11) was not exceptional.

It was the 14th equal warmest winter since 1850 (4.7°C), but not as warm as last winter (5.6°C) which ranks 3rd.

It was the driest February since 1998, 5th driest on record since 1850. Thus, despite a very wet January, winter rainfall was only just above average as a whole.

It was the 5th sunniest February since 1882 (111.7 hours), the sunniest since 1988. The sunniest February at Durham was 1907 with 116 hours of bright sunshine. Overall, it was the 9th sunniest winter on record at Durham (216.9 hours), not in fact as sunny as last year (240.8 hours). So, although it was nationally the sunniest February on record (since 1929), no records were broken at Durham.

It was very windy at the beginning and end of the month, but wind speeds were only average overall. There was a very strong gust of 60 kt (111 kph, 69.5 mph) on the afternoon of the 28th; this is probably the strongest gust since 8th January 2005 (137 kph, 86 mph) and one of the highest recorded at the Durham Observatory.

Professor Tim Burt
Department of Geography
Durham University