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January 2022


January 2021

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

Mean daily maximum: 8.9 Difference from average: +2.0
Mean daily minimum: 1.6 Difference from average: +0.3
Mean air temperature: +5.2 Difference from average: +1.1
Absolute maximum: 13.9 (1st)
Absolute minimum: -3.1 (6th)
Mean grass minimum: -0.3 Difference from average: +0.1
Absolute grass minimum: -5.8 (6th)
Mean concrete minimum: -0.2
Absolute concrete minimum: -4.5 (6th)
Number of ground frosts: 21 Difference from average: +4
Number of air frosts: 12 Difference from average: +1
Mean soil temperature at 300 mm depth:
Mean soil temperature at 1000 mm depth:

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

Total for the month: 15.8 Difference from average: -37.2
Percentage of the average: 30%
Wettest day: 7.8 (3rd)
Number of rain days (>0.1 mm): 10 Difference from average: -9
Number of wet days (=>1.0 mm): 5
3-month total rainfall to 2021: 133 Difference from average: -39
6-month total rainfall to 2021: 310.2 Difference from average: -36
12-month total rainfall to 2021: 613 Difference from average: -36

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

Total for the month: 111.6 Difference from average: +49.7
Percentage of the average: 180 %
Mean daily sunshine: 3.6 Difference from average: +1.6
Sunniest day: 7.5 (17th)
Number of days with no recorded sunshine: 0

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: 6.2
Maximum gust: 104 (29th, 10:15, WNW)

Comments on January 2021

January was mild, dry and sunny. It was the 15th equal warmest January since 1844 with the mean maximum the 7th highest on record; night-time temperatures were less exceptional. Following a remarkably warm New Year’s Eve, there was the warmest New Year’s Day on record, a maximum of 13.9 °C, easily beating the previous record from 2015 by four tenths of a degree. It was a very dry month too: the 16th driest January since 1850.

It was the sunniest January on record since 1881. The estimate of 111.6 hours is well above the previous record of 94 hours in 1959, but the measured total of 132.6 hours is even more remarkable. As regular readers will know, the solarimeter is poorly exposed, but this is less of a problem in winter, given the site slopes to the south. Recently, trees have been lopped at the Observatory to improve exposure and this seems to have had an immediate effect even in a winter month. Having used estimates since 2000 (when manual observations from a roof-mounted Campbell-Stokes sunshine recorder ceased), I will continue to do so, but the measured total in January 2022 is notable and hopefully a sign of better things to come! Since other observers in the North East have also had record-breaking January sunshine totals, we can be sure that the high total at the Observatory is not just the result of tree work.

Finally, it is worth noting the maximum gust on the morning of the 29th when Storm Malik passed through: 104 kph (63 mph). Note that this was recorded on the roof of the West Building, Lower Mountjoy Campus, not at the Observatory which is about a kilometre to the west.

Emeritus Professor Tim Burt
Department of Geography
Durham University

[email protected]