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February 2022



February 2022


Temperatures (all temperatures in degrees Celsius; all averages 1991-2020)

Mean daily maximum: 9.4 Difference from average: +1.7
Mean daily minimum: 2.7 Difference from average: +1.3
Mean air temperature: 6.1 Difference from average: +1.5
Absolute maximum: 12.7 (16th)
Absolute minimum: -3.3 (11th)
Mean grass minimum: 1.2 Difference from average: +1.8
Absolute grass minimum: -6.9 (11th)
Mean concrete minimum: 1.4
Absolute concrete minimum: -4.3 (11th)
Number of ground frosts: 10 Difference from average: -6
Number of air frosts: 2 Difference from average: -8
Mean soil temperature at 300 mm depth: 5.6
Mean soil temperature at 1000 mm depth: 6.6


Rainfall (all totals in millimetres; all averages 1991-2020)

Total for the month: 64.6 Difference from average: +19.3
Percentage of the average: 143%
Wettest day: 12.4 (13th)
Number of rain days (>0.1 mm): 18
Number of wet days (=>1.0 mm): 14
3-month total rainfall to 28th February 2022: 146.6 Difference from average: -25.4
6-month total rainfall to 28th February 2022: 330.0 Difference from average: -16.2
12-month total rainfall to 28th February 2022: 597.8 Difference from average: -51.2


Sunshine (all totals in hours; all averages 1991-2020)

Total for the month: 103.7 Difference from average: +18.4
Percentage of the average: 122%
Mean daily sunshine: 3.3 Difference from average: +0.3
Sunniest day: 8.6 (25th)
Number of days with no recorded sunshine: 2

Note that the monthly sunshine total is now calculated from the UKMO E&NE regional total. Daily sunshine totals quoted here and in the data summary are uncorrected.


Wind (kph; all data from the West Building roof, Lower Mountjoy campus)

Average wind speed: 10.8
Maximum gust: 90.1 (21st, 0430, WNW)


Comments on February 2022

February was exceptionally mild, with the fifth equal highest mean air temperature since 1844. Daytime temperatures were relatively higher than night-time temperatures, with the mean maximum being the 7th highest on record, whilst the mean minimum is equal 17th highest. There were only two air frosts: the equal lowest February total on record (with 1872 and 2011). There were only 10 ground frosts, the 8th equal lowest total since 1875. Rainfall was well above average, but still only the 29th highest total since 1850. It was nevertheless a sunny month, the 11th highest on record since 1881. For the second month in a row, the ‘measured’ sunshine (calculated by the Met Office from pyranometer records as 109.2 hours) was higher than the estimate based on regional statistics, again showing the value of tree pruning on winter sunshine receipt at the weather station. However, this is unlikely to have solved exposure issues for the summer half of the year when trees to the north of the Observatory will still likely continue to shade the site early morning and in the evening. It was also a very windy month: three days recorded gusts over 80 kph with a maximum gust of 90.1 kph at 0430 on the morning of the 21st.

For the winter as a whole, this was the 5th equal warmest winter since 1844 (5.4 °C), although not as mild as 2020. The mean maximum temperature (9.4 °C) was third equal highest on record and the mean minimum (2.7 °C) was 14th highest. There were just 18 air frosts, the 8th equal lowest total. There was the 11th equal lowest number of ground frosts (43) since 1875. Unlike last winter’s record-breaking amount, rainfall this winter was just below average. It was the 4th sunniest winter on record (253 hours): following a dull December, both January and February were exceptional.

Of the ten warmest winters at Durham, only one is from the 19th century: 1863. There are four from the 20th century: 1935, 1975, 1989 (the warmest: 6.3 °C) and 1998. The other five are all from this century: 2007, 2014, 2016, 2020 and 2022. Of the ten sunniest winters, only 1907 and 1992 predate this century; 2015 is the sunniest winter on record with 270 hours of bright sunshine.

Emeritus Professor Tim Burt
Department of Geography
Durham University

[email protected]