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February 2024

SUMMARY OF THE METEOROLOGICAL READINGS AT DURHAM UNIVERSITY OBSERVATORY

February 2024

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

Mean daily maximum: 10.1   Difference from average: +2.4

Mean daily minimum: 3.9      Difference from average: +2.5

Mean air temperature: 7.0      Difference from average: +2.4

Absolute maximum: 14.6 (15th)

Absolute minimum: -2.2 (8th)

Mean grass minimum: 2.3      Difference from average: +2.9

Absolute grass minimum: -4.8 (8th)

Mean concrete minimum: 2.5

Absolute concrete minimum: -3.6 (24th)

Number of ground frosts: 8    Difference from average: -8

Number of air frosts: 5

Mean soil temperature at 300 mm depth: 6.6

Mean soil temperature at 1000 mm depth: 7.3

Rainfall (all totals in millimetres; all averages 1981-2010)

Total for the month: 52.8        Difference from average: +7.5

Percentage of the average:  117%

Wettest day: 18.4 (8th)

Number of rain days (>0.2 mm): 18   Difference from average: +2

Number of wet days (=>1.0 mm): 12

3-month total rainfall to 29th February 2024: 234.6    Difference from average: +34.9

6-month total rainfall to 29th February 2024: 520.8    Difference from average: +136.2

12-month total rainfall to 29th February 2024: 898     Difference from average: +217

Sunshine (all totals in hours; all averages 1981-2010)

Total for the month: 64.8                    Difference from average: -20.5

Percentage of the average: 76 %

Mean daily sunshine: 2.1       Difference from average: -0.9

Sunniest day: 7.5 (24th)

Number of days with no recorded sunshine: 1

Cumulative sunshine since 1st January: 134.4             Difference from average: -12.7

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

 

Average wind speed: 6.7

Maximum gust: 74.0 (24th, 15:45, WSW)

Comments on February 2024

 This was the second warmest February at Durham since 1844, behind 1998 (7.6 °C), just a little warmer than February 2023. It was the 3rd highest mean maximum, behind 1998 (10.9 °C) and 2019 (10.6 °C) and the 2nd highest mean minimum, behind 1998 (4.3 °C). There were 16 days with maximum temperature of at least 10 °C, the equal third highest total behind 1943 (17) and 1998 (18). The last seven months at Durham have all been above average and only three months have been below average since the start of 2022, a remarkably warm spell. There was the 2nd equal lowest number of ground frosts behind 2014 (7), the same number as last year. Rainfall was above average; the last eight months have all been above average, this being reflected in the long-period totals. Sunshine was well below average but it was not nearly as dull as many Februarys have been, ranking 59th dullest in 141 years.

For the winter as a whole, the mean air temperature was 5.8 °C, the second warmest winter at Durham behind 1989. The mean maximum was 8.6 °C, the equal 3rd highest (with 2016 and 2022) behind 2019 (8.8 °C) and 1989 (9.4 °C). There was also the 2nd highest mean minimum (3.0 °C) behind 1989 (3.2 °C). There were 32 days with a maximum of at least 10 °C, the 4th equal highest total since 1851; 1989 easily heads the list with a total of 44 days. There was just one ‘ice day’, on 2nd December. There were just 31 ground frosts, 18 below average, the second lowest total on record behind 2020 (30). The winter rainfall total was 234.6 mm, 147% of average, the 15th wettest winter on record since 1851. There were 55 rain days, just 3 above average, suggesting an increase in the daily totals and thus in rainfall intensity. The amount of sunshine was, as expected given the high rainfall, below average, 87% of the average amount.

Emeritus Professor Tim Burt

Department of Geography

Durham University

[email protected]