2015 – Summary

With El Niño conditions developing very early in the year, it was almost certain that it would influence the weather, but it is never easy to say how or what its influence might be here in the Northern Hemisphere. As most weather models suggest when El Niño conditions exist, 2015 experienced the full range of extreme weather events around the world, most notably it being, globally, the warmest year ever with 2016 forecast to be warmer still! Whether this was entirely due to El Niño or by man-made influences is a continuing debate, but man-made global warming is now being thought of as the prime influence. Whether you are a believer in global warming or not, with these conditions continuing, they are set to influence our weather into next year.

Rising temperatures was a phenomenon that passed us by here in Askernish. For us, 2015 was our windiest, wettest and dullest year. As the year progressed, a full range of monthly records tumbled with the more unwelcome easily outnumbering the more pleasant ones being broken. This contrast was best highlighted by the months of June which was our windiest, wettest, coldest and dullest on record compared with October which was our warmest. August was our driest but perversely had the most rain days to be recorded during that month. New monthly atmospheric pressure records both high and low also occurred throughout the year. These often pass unnoticed and are of little concern to most observers, but they too are an indication of changing weather patterns.

The persistent wind is what most people will remember about 2015. This awareness was heightened with the occurrence of another explosive cyclogenesis or “weather bomb” in December, and then the Met Office personalising the storms by naming them for the first time later in the year. What followed that decision was Abigail, Barney, Clodagh, Desmond, Eva and Frank, all of which occurred during the final two months of the year. All these storms resulted in strong winds and heavy rain ensuring that this was our windiest and wettest year.

Six of the twelve months, January, March, May, June, July and November were our windiest ever with these months experiencing their own record high wind speeds and wind gusts. There were 9 gale days during the year which is yet another record here at Askernish. There were 3 in January, 2 in March, our first ever in November and 3 in December, all of which (apart from December) are records for this station. The average wind speed for 2015 was 11.9 mph which produced a wind run in excess of 100,000 miles for the year for the very first time.

One exceptional respite from the winds occurred in October when the remnants of Hurricane Joaquin passed further south than expected and left us eerily becalmed for three days. During this period, with an average wind speed of 0.6 mph and a wind run of just 14.0 miles, the 16th October became our calmest ever day!

With the winds came the rain with March, June and July being our wettest on record. In total, 1152.2 mm of rain fell during the year on 291 rain days exceeding our previous record by 30.8mm set only last year. Again in complete contrast the months of October and August were the driest ever here in Askernish but there were 28 days in August when rain fell, a record high for that month. Another milestone occurred on the 14th December when no rain fell on that day making it our first dry December day since 26th December 2012!

With wind and rain, there is always the associated cloud which seemed to shroud our islands for long periods during the year. It was therefore no surprise that 2015 was our dullest year with the months of June, July, October and November setting their own records by being our dullest. In February there were 5 consecutive days when NO sunshine was recorded, yetanother station record. One bright spot, literally and contrary to the gloom, May was oursunniest on record.

Globally, 2015 was the warmest year ever but not here. January, May, June and July were our coldest ever and only October and December broke any records, both being our warmest. There
were only 4 days during the year when the temperature reached 20°C and 61 when it exceeded 15°C, the latter being the lowest ever recorded in a year. There were 7 days when snow fell during the year, a record annual high.

A summary of each and every month plus the four seasons precede this post on the blog.

Statistical Summary – 2015

Temperature (°C):
Mean (1 minute)         9.3
Mean (min+max)        9.3
Mean Minimum           6.8
Mean Maximum        11.7
Minimum                     -3.3       18th Jan
Maximum                    24.7      23rd Aug
Highest Minimum       13.5       30th Jun          Lowest recorded in a year
Lowest Maximum        2.8          3rd Feb
Days above  20˚C          4
Days above  15˚C        61                                 Lowest annual total
Days below  0˚C           11
Days below  -5˚C           0
Air frosts                         10

Rainfall (mm):
Total for year           1152.2                              Highest annual rainfall
Wettest day                22.6     5th May
High rain rate              67.0     9th Dec
Rain days                     291                              Highest number recorded in a year
Days >= 2.0mm            167                              Highest number recorded in a year
Days >= 10.0mm            26
Days>= 20.0mm               2
Dry days                         74                              Lowest number recorded in a year

Wind (mph):
Highest Gust                 76.0      8th Jan
Average Speed           11.9                            Highest annual average wind speed
Wind Run             105417.9 miles                   Highest annual wind run
Gale days                  9                                   Highest number recorded in a year

Pressure (mb):
Maximum             1043.65         7th Feb
Minimum                947.68        14th Jan

Days with snow falling                  7               Highest number recorded in a year
Days with snow lying at 0900      4

Total hours of sunshine           1011.0            Lowest annual total
Sunshine days                           265