annual summary

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

November 2015 – Summary

With NOAA having already announced that 2015 is going to be Globally the warmest year on record, plus the UK experiencing its highest ever November temperature, these are phenomena that seem to have passed us by here. All that we can confidently predict is that 2015 will not break any temperature records at Askernish, but it will be our windiest ever year. As for our November, it will be remembered for the Met Office naming storms for the very first time and then the first three, Abigail, Barney and Clodagh, ensuring that this was our windiest November with our first ever November gale day.

November began here as it did elsewhere in the UK with higher than average temperatures. While we did not experience the record breaking November “highs” seen elsewhere, we did record our highest ever November Minimum Temperature of 12.2°C on the 1st and then our highest November Apparent Temperature of 11.7°C on the 4th. Temperatures remained above “the norm” for the first ten days of the month, helped by persistent cloud which maintained the night time temperatures but very much restricted the hours of sunshine recorded.

Abigail, the first storm to be named by the Met Office, passed over our islands on the 12/13th leaving in it’s wake our windiest November day and our first ever November gale day on the 12th. On that day, the winds peaked at 67.0 mph, and with a maximum wind speed of 41.0 mph. The average wind speed for the day was 27.0 mph which produced a wind run 645.9 miles, all of which are records for the month of November.

There was little respite before the remnants of Hurricane Kate brought windy conditions again on 16th, and although Kate was not as bad as Abigail, this was only because it had less persistent wind speeds. Kate was quickly followed by Barney which although passing further south, it still brought some wet and windy conditions on the 17/18th.

Barney left us exposed to a more Northerly air stream which was very much colder and gave us the first taste of winter. A mixture of rain, sleet , hail and an ever present chill wind persisted until the end of the month, during which time Clodagh arrived on the 29th, again bringing strong winds gusting to 60 mph on that day.

The cloud and overcast conditions, a feature throughout the month, ensured that it was our dullest November with only 33.1 hours of sunshine being recorded on 19 sunshine days, both record lows for November. Despite the cloud, the early part of the month was relatively dry. Even so, there were 28 rain days during the month, 18 of which had more than 2mm of rain fall, another unwelcome record for November.

Statistical Summary

Temperature (°C):
Mean (1 minute)           8.6
Mean (min+max)          8.3
Mean Minimum             6.3
Mean Maximum         10.3
Minimum                       1.1      20th
Maximum                    12.9        1st
Highest Minimum        12.2       1st           Record High for the month of November
Lowest Maximum         5.6       20th
Air frosts 0

Rainfall (mm):
Total for month         103.6
Wettest day                10.4       15th
High rain rate              61.0        8th
Rain days                      28
Days >= 2.0mm            18                        Record High for the month of November
Days >= 10.0mm            1
Days>= 20.0mm             0
Dry days                          2

Wind (mph):
Highest Gust               67.0      12th           Record High for the month of November
Average Speed         14.1                        Record High for the month of November
Wind Run             10133.0 miles                Record High for the month of November
Gale days                    1
Predominent Direction      SW

Pressure (mb):
Maximum           1022.90           22nd
Minimum             981.48             15th

Days with snow falling    0
Days with snow lying at 0900      0

Total hours of sunshine    33.1                 Record Low for the month of November
No. of Sunshine Days         19                  Record Low for the month of November
Sunniest Day                   22nd          4.3 hours

Spring 2015 – Summary

The arrival of June heralds the end of the northern hemispheres’ meteorological spring which consists of the months of March, April and May. Unsurprisingly to those who live here, this spring was the wettest and windiest on record here at Askernish and we also experienced lower than average temperatures during this period.

For the first time since 2009, computer simulations are suggesting that an El Niño event is likely as we head into the second half of the year while scientists have already declared that El Niño conditions exist in the Pacific. The fact that they exist so early in the year is unusual and worrying considering Texas has already experienced severe flooding and people have died in India’s recent unseasonal heat wave.

El Niño is the name given to describe an up welling of warmer than average water in the Equatorial Pacific, and is known to disrupt climate patterns around the world. During previous El Niño events, much wetter winters have occurred in Southwest USA. For California, the developing El Niño will therefore be very welcome news as the state has recently suffered the worst drought on record due to a chronic lack of rainfall. Amongst other areas which will be affected is Northern Australia, where drought conditions are expected. El Niño is also associated with warm and very wet weather during summer months along the coast of northern Peru, an increase in typhoon activity in South East Asia and a weaker monsoon on the Indian sub-continent.

As for Europe and the UK, the consequences of El Niño are much less clear. Research suggests that the main impact is more likely to be felt in winter, causing colder, drier conditions in Northern Europe, and wetter, milder winters through southern Europe and the Mediterranean.

During the last El Niño of 2009/2010, the winter across northern Europe, including the UK was exceptionally cold. But there are many other variables which affect Europe’s climate and there was a deep, protracted solar minimum at the same time, which is known to increase the likelihood of colder winters. One of the other main consequences of the predicted El Niño later this year would be to boost global temperatures. It could mean 2015 will become the hottest year globally on record – but probably not here in Askernish.

One way or the other, El Niño will certainly have the potential to grab the headlines later this year and is it’s influence already at work?

Summary for period  March – May 2015, the meteorological spring

Temperature (°C):
Mean (1 minute)            7.7
Mean (min+max)           7.8
Mean Minimum           5.1
Mean Maximum         10.4
Minimum                    -0.4                 24 March 2015
Maximum                   16.8                14 May 2015                                  Lowest spring maximum
Highest Minimum       9.1                  21 April 2015
Lowest Maximum        4.7                02 March 2015
Air frosts                          2

Rainfall (mm):
Total for period       297.6                                                                        Highest spring rainfall
Wettest day                22.6            05 May 2015
High rain rate           44.4              10 May 015
Rain days      70
Dry days      22

Wind (mph):
Highest Gust      69.0                 09 March 2015                                  Highest spring gust
Average Speed    12.1                                                                         Highest spring record
Wind Run        26682.4 miles                                                                Highest spring record
Gale days 1

Pressure (mb):
Maximum           1037.86           21 April 2015
Minimum             976.87            30 April 2015

Days with snow falling   0
Days with snow lying at    0900 0

Total hours of sunshine    431.2

2014 – Weather Summary

2014 was both nationally and globally the warmest year on record! This means that 14 of the 15 warmest years have all occurred in the 21st century! Here in the UK, the Met Office UK data series dates back to 1910, but it was also the warmest on record in the Central England Temperature (CET) series, which goes back to 1659 and is the longest instrumental temperature series in the world.

Record warm years are frequently associated with the temporary warming influence of the climate system known as El Niño. El Niño occurs when warmer than average sea surface temperatures in the eastern tropical Pacific combine, in a self-reinforcing loop, with atmospheric pressure systems. This can affect global weather patterns. Worryingly, the high global temperatures in 2014 occurred in the absence of a full El Niño. During the year, sea surface temperatures rose nearly to El Niño thresholds but this wasn’t accompanied by an atmospheric response.

Rising temperatures do not mean that we will be enjoying a Mediterranean style climate any time soon. Increased winds and rainfall are the more likely consequence, as was experienced here in the UK earlier in the year when 12 major Atlantic storms battered the UK bringing nearly double the usual rainfall.

The weather here at Askernish reflected the national trends with it being our warmest year to date, the average temperature for the year being 10.2°C . This is 0.5°C above the ten year average (2001 – 2010) and above the average for the past 4 years (2011 – 2014) by the same amount. Temperatures remained higher than average throughout the year with the months of May, June, July and September all  being the warmest on record here at Askernish, with July being the warmest month ever with an average temperature of 15.3°C. During July temperatures rose to 27.7°C, on the 24th, a new station record, along with Heat Index (28.7°C) and Apparent Temperature (29.3°C). The 24th also produced the highest daily temperature range, that of 14.3°C and the highest ever minimum temperature of 16.2°C was recorded on the 19th. Monthly record highs also occurred in March (15.5°C), June (22.1°C), September (21.7°C) and October (16.8°C).

These higher temperatures meant that there were only 2 air frosts recorded (when temperatures fall to 0°C or lower) during the year, the minimum temperature being -1.2 °C recorded on the 27th December. This is most unusual as the 10 year average is 18 air frosts per annum.

In character with increased temperatures, it was also our wettest year on record with 1121.4mm of rain falling during the year. As March began, it signalled the end of the metrological winter which is defined as December to February. According to Met Office figures, it was the wettest winter on record (records began in 1910) for England and Wales, and possibly the wettest for over 150 years. During the 3 months defined as winter which consists of 89 days, a total of 493.6mm of rain fell here in Askernish, some 62% above the 10 year average. There were only 2 days when rainfall was NOT recorded when our longest ever spell of wet weather finally came to end.  With no rain falling on the 28th January, it hailed the end of 61 consecutive days with recorded rain during which time 331.4mm fell here in Askernish.

The remainder of the year seemed to fare no better with the months of January (159.4mm), February (151.8mm), March (84.0mm), July (66.8mm), October (154.8mm) and November (123.2mm) experiencing their highest monthly rainfall ever recorded here at Askernish. In complete contrast, June (35.0mm) and September (19.6mm) were the driest, the later being the lowest monthly rainfall to be recorded here.

Winds were slightly above the 4 year average (2011-2014) with an average speed of 10.8mph, a wind run of 94,898.9 miles and 4 gale days occurring during the year. The predominant direction was SSW. Winds varied throughout the year with the months of February,  March, August and November being the windiest on record here at Askernish, while September and November were the calmest. Record high  gusts were recorded for the months of March (56mph), July (40mph) and August (50mph).

The arrival of a “weather bomb” in December meant that we experienced some extreme wind conditions with several days of consistently strong winds. These winds peaked on the 9th and 10th of December with a station record wind run of 740.6 miles on the 9th only for it to be exceeded on the 10th. On this day the average wind speed was 33.7mph which resulted in a wind run of 790.0 miles.

Statistical summary for 2014

Temperature (°C):
Mean (1 minute) 10.2                                                     –           highest annual Mean (1 min)
Mean (min+max) 10.3                                                    –           highest annual Mean (min+max)
Mean Minimum 7.7                                                         –           highest annual Mean Minimum
Mean Maximum 12.8                                                      –           highest annual Mean maximum
Minimum -1.2                           27th December           –           highest annual Minimum
Maximum 27.7                          24th July                       –           Station Record High Temperature
Highest Minimum 16.2           18th July
Lowest Maximum 2.7              27th December
Air frosts 2                                                                         –           Least air frosts to occur in a year
Days above 20˚C 15
Days above 15˚C 119                                                      –           highest number recorded in a year
Days below 0˚C 2                                                            –           lowest number recorded in a year
Days below -5˚C 0

Rainfall (mm):
Total for year 1121.4                                                       –           Station Record Annual Rainfall
Wettest day 26.8                       5th October
High rain rate 91.4                 18th October
Rain days 272
Dry days 93
Days >= 0.2mm – 272
Days >= 2.0mm – 164
Days>= 20.0mm – 2

Wind (mph):
Highest Gust 69.0                26th January
Average Speed 10.8
Wind Run 94898.9 miles
Gale days 4
Predominant Direction SSW

Pressure (mb):
Maximum 1037.22           28th December
Minimum 950.53                8th February

Days with snow falling 1
Days with snow lying at 0900 0

Total hours of sunshine 1077.0
Number of sunshine days 272