Met Office figures show we are on course for coldest March in over 50 years

28 03 2013

This March is set to be the coldest since 1962 in the UK in the national record dating back to 1910, according to provisional Met Office statistics.

From 1 to 26 March the UK mean temperature was 2.5 °C, which is three degrees below the long term average. This also makes it joint 4th coldest on record in the UK.

The table below gives details of statistics up to the 26 March for broken down by the counties used to compile climate statistics.

  mean temperature precipitation
  Actual  (deg C) Difference from 1981-2010 average (deg C) Actual (mm) Percentage of 1981-2010 average (%)
Regions        
UK 2.5 -3.0 62.2 65
England 2.9 -3.3 63.4 99
Wales 2.8 -3.0 86.2 74
Scotland 1.6 -2.5 50.3 36
N Ireland 3.0 -2.9 78.9 83
England & Wales 2.9 -3.3 66.6 94
England N 2.0 -3.5 54.0 72
England S 3.4 -3.2 68.4 118
Historic Counties        
Aberdeenshire 0.6 -3.1 67.9 86
Anglesey 3.9 -2.9 79.8 100
Antrim 2.9 -2.8 68.9 75
Argyllshire 2.5 -2.1 47.2 22
Armagh 3.1 -3.1 96.8 125
Ayrshire 2.0 -2.9 53.8 41
Banffshire 0.8 -3.1 56.4 76
Bedfordshire 3.0 -3.5 50.1 119
Berkshire 3.4 -3.2 78.5 157
Berwickshire 1.6 -3.2 65.0 108
Brecknockshire 1.9 -3.1 100.5 74
Buckinghamshire 3.1 -3.4 66.6 137
Buteshire 2.7 -2.3 58.0 36
Caithness 2.3 -1.9 45.5 52
Cambridgeshire 3.2 -3.5 40.0 102
Cardiganshire 2.8 -2.8 62.5 54
Carmarthenshire 3.4 -2.7 87.0 69
Carnarvonshire 2.8 -3.0 96.1 64
Cheshire 2.9 -3.5 42.1 72
Clackmannanshire 1.7 -2.7 65.3 57
Cornwall 5.1 -2.3 102.0 109
Cumberland 1.6 -3.3 42.1 37
Denbighshire 2.1 -3.4 66.2 75
Derbyshire 1.9 -3.7 58.8 81
Devon 4.0 -2.7 112.9 118
Dorset 4.0 -2.7 96.8 132
Down 3.2 -3.0 158.4 193
Dumfriesshire 1.3 -3.1 65.6 53
Dunbartonshire 2.1 -2.7 49.4 25
Durham 1.6 -3.4 61.9 99
East Lothianshire 1.9 -3.2 55.4 100
Essex 3.5 -3.3 44.2 110
Fermanagh 3.0 -3.0 45.6 42
Fifeshire 2.3 -3.0 58.8 89
Flintshire 2.9 -3.5 60.9 105
Forfarshire 0.9 -3.0 73.1 89
Glamorganshire 3.6 -2.8 123.1 98
Gloucestershire 3.2 -3.3 77.1 129
Hampshire 3.9 -2.9 85.4 133
Herefordshire 2.9 -3.5 80.3 134
Hertfordshire 3.2 -3.4 50.3 109
Huntingdonshire 3.1 -3.6 56.4 143
Inverness 1.3 -2.1 36.9 19
Kent 3.8 -3.1 58.2 121
Kincardineshire 1.5 -3.1 56.5 82
Kinross 1.5 -3.0 65.6 65
Kirkcudbrightshire 1.7 -3.0 79.2 54
Lanarkshire 1.2 -3.0 51.8 47
Lancashire 2.6 -3.3 41.1 45
Leicestershire 2.4 -3.8 52.4 114
Lincolnshire 2.7 -3.6 49.0 113
Londonderry 3.0 -2.8 59.3 60
Merionethshire 1.8 -3.1 98.6 62
Mid Lothianshire 1.7 -3.1 59.4 83
Middlesex 4.2 -3.3 57.7 128
Monmouthshire 3.1 -3.2 94.8 100
Montgomeryshire 2.0 -3.4 64.5 56
Moray 1.7 -2.8 39.5 60
Nairnshire 1.5 -2.9 32.0 47
Norfolk 3.0 -3.4 60.5 128
Northamptonshire 2.6 -3.6 61.0 133
Northumberland 1.5 -3.3 63.0 92
Nottinghamshire 2.6 -3.8 49.0 113
Oxfordshire 3.0 -3.3 74.3 149
Peeblesshire 0.4 -3.4 69.6 68
Pembrokeshire 4.0 -2.6 76.9 77
Perthshire 0.6 -2.6 58.8 39
Radnorshire 1.7 -3.2 87.8 91
Renfrewshire 2.5 -2.8 42.8 29
Ross and Cromarty 2.1 -2.0 35.1 20
Roxburghshire 1.0 -3.4 62.8 73
Rutland 2.4 -3.7 58.0 123
Selkirkshire 0.5 -3.1 76.5 68
Shropshire 2.6 -3.5 61.6 108
Somerset 3.8 -3.0 65.3 91
Staffordshire 2.3 -3.7 51.0 87
Stirlingshire 1.9 -2.9 53.2 36
Suffolk 3.2 -3.3 46.4 104
Surrey 3.7 -3.1 72.1 135
Sussex 4.0 -2.8 64.6 103
Sutherland 1.5 -2.4 38.8 27
Tyrone 2.8 -2.8 60.1 57
Warwickshire 2.8 -3.6 52.2 110
West Lothianshire 1.9 -3.1 49.3 62
West Suffolk 3.3 -3.5 31.8 80
Westmorland 1.2 -3.1 56.1 40
Wigtownshire 2.7 -2.8 55.5 51
Wiltshire 3.3 -3.0 76.1 118
Worcestershire 3.1 -3.5 63.9 133
Yorkshire 1.9 -3.6 59.0 84

Clearly March has been extremely cold and snowy and joins 2006, 2001, 1995, 1987, 1979, 1970 and 1962 as years when March saw some significant snowfall.

The cold weather is expected to continue through the Easter weekend and into April. You can stay up-to-date with forecasts and warnings online, through our mobile apps, facebook and twitter, and through TV and radio broadcasts.

The table below lists the coldest March average temperatures on record and details where March 2013 ranks in terms of cold months of March.

Area Coldest March

on Record

(deg C and year)

Rank of March 2013
Aberdeenshire -1.4 1947 5
Anglesey 3.6 1962 2
Antrim 2.2 1947 5
Argyllshire 1.5 1947 5
Armagh 2.9 1919/1947 4
Ayrshire 1.0 1947 5
Banffshire -1.0 1947 5
Bedfordshire 2.3 1962 2
Berkshire 2.6 1962 2
Berwickshire 0.3 1947 5
Brecknockshire 1.1 1962 2
Buckinghamshire 2.3 1962 2
Buteshire 1.5 1947 5
Caithness 0.0 1947 5
Cambridgeshire 2.6 1962 2
Cardiganshire 2.0 1962 3
Carmarthenshire 2.5 1962 3
Carnarvonshire 2.3 1962 3
Cheshire 2.6 1962 2
Clackmannanshire 0.1 1947 4
Cornwall 3.9 1962 2
Cumberland 1.0 1947 4
Denbighshire 1.4 1962 2
Derbyshire 1.5 1962 2
Devon 3.1 1962 2
Dorset 3.1 1962 2
Down 3.0 1937/1947 4
Dumfriesshire 0.5 1947 5
Dunbartonshire 0.3 1947 5
Durham 0.9 1947 4
East Lothianshire 0.2 1947 5
Essex 2.8 1962 2
Fermanagh 2.8 1947 3
Fifeshire 0.7 1947 5
Flintshire 2.4 1962 2
Forfarshire -0.6 1947 4
Glamorganshire 2.9 1962 3
Gloucestershire 2.6 1962 2
Hampshire 3.0 1962 2
Herefordshire 2.4 1962 2
Hertfordshire 2.4 1962 2
Huntingdonshire 2.6 1962 2
Inverness 0.0 1947 5
Kent 2.9 1962 2
Kincardineshire 0.3 1947 2
Kinross -0.1 1947 5
Kirkcudbrightshire 0.9 1947 3
Lanarkshire 0.0 1947 5
Lancashire 2.3 1962 2
Leicestershire 2.0 1962 2
Lincolnshire 2.4 1962 2
Londonderry 2.2 1947 5
Merionethshire 1.2 1962 3
Mid Lothianshire 0.1 1947 5
Middlesex 3.4 1962 2
Monmouthshire 2.5 1962 2
Montgomeryshire 1.3 1962 3
Moray -0.2 1947 5
Nairnshire 0.0 1947 5
Norfolk 2.5 1962 2
Northamptonshire 2.1 1962 2
Northumberland 0.4 1947 4
Nottinghamshire 2.4 1962 2
Oxfordshire 2.4 1962 2
Peeblesshire -1.2 1947 5
Pembrokeshire 3.2 1962 3
Perthshire -1.2 1947 5
Radnorshire 1.1 1962 2
Renfrewshire 0.8 1947 5
Ross and Cromarty 0.8 1947 5
Roxburghshire -0.4 1947 5
Rutland 1.9 1962 2
Selkirkshire -0.8 1947 5
Shropshire 2.1 1962 2
Somerset 3.0 1962 2
Staffordshire 1.9 1962 2
Stirlingshire 0.1 1947 5
Suffolk 2.5 1962 2
Surrey 2.8 1962 2
Sussex 2.9 1962 2
Sutherland 0.1 1947 5
Tyrone 2.3 1947 5
Warwickshire 2.3 1962 2
West Lothianshire 0.3 1947 5
West Suffolk 2.5 1962 2
Westmorland 0.4 1947 3
Wigtownshire 1.7 1947 3
Wiltshire 2.5 1962 2
Worcestershire 2.7 1962 2
Yorkshire 1.4 1947 3

The full month figures for March 2013 will be available later next week and a summary of the month will be issued soon after.





Met Office celebrates 150 years of forecasting for the Nation

29 07 2011

Monday 1st of August 2011 is a very special day for the Met Office.  We will be celebrating 150 years of forecasting for the nation, marking the anniversary of the first ever public weather forecast appearing in print.

Starting with the lines “general weather probable in the next two days”, the short piece which appeared in on page 10 of the The Times in 1861 was a bold move which started forecasting as we know it today.

It was put together by Robert FitzRoy, a captain in the Royal Navy and a pioneer in the field of meteorology who headed up the department which later became the Met Office.

John Hirst, Chief Executive of the Met Office, said: “We’re extremely proud of our long heritage and to be marking this landmark anniversary of forecasting for the nation.

“Ever since our humble beginnings, the Met Office has been a pioneer in the science of meteorology. Forecasting the very variable British weather is always testing but by facing that test every day we have established a reputation around the world as being amongst the very best at what we do.

“Most of all, we’re proud to have stayed true to our origins by forecasting what the weather has in store to help safeguard lives and property.”

The inspiration for FitzRoy’s first forecast came from the desire to protect life and property. In 1859 a storm wrecked the ship Royal Charter and many others, costing the lives of hundreds of people.

He believed this kind of event could be forecast in advance – giving people the necessary time to prepare. This belief led to his first public forecast in 1861.

The first daily weather forecast, The Times, 1 Aug 1861

The first daily weather forecast, The Times, 1 Aug 1861 (Click to enlarge)

Since then forecasting has stayed at the forefront of scientific and technical development, embracing advances such as chaos theory, supercomputers, satellites, and even mobile internet to transform the way forecasts are created and delivered.

During that time forecasts have had a huge impact – from advising of a weather window for the D-Day landings to giving advance warning of the terrible floods in Cumbria in November 2009.

 To mark the event, the Met Office is launching a photo competition asking the public to put forward pictures which define weather moments of 2011 so far.  Details of the competition, as well as a timeline of major events in forecasting over the last 15 decades, are on the Met Office website or you can find out more about our history as well.





Met Office supporting BBC ‘The Great British Weather’ Show

13 07 2011

The Met Office will be behind the scenes of the new BBC magazine show ‘The Great British Weather’ which starts tonight on BBC One at 7.30pm.

The Great British Weather is an interactive live series set to tap in to the nation’s obsession with weather, as we find out which clouds mean we should dig out our brollies and where to head for the most sunshine in Britain. It also helps to answer our annoying weather questions, does it really rain cats and dogs – or does it actually rain frogs? Does red sky at night really mean shepherd’s delight? Why are there so many types of clouds and why are they so different?

We have been providing expert scientific and meteorological advice, support and guidance into the making of the show and we’ll have an expert on hand at the Great British Weather HQ to help answer questions during the show tonight.

Through the series there will be a number of features on the work of the Met Office and how we have been forecasting for the nation over the last 150 years or so. This includes providing forecasts for the British armed forces in times on conflict from the D-Day landings through to Afghanistan, services to keep the nation moving and switched on as well as keeping the nation safe and well.

The Met Office’ s own Carol Kirkwood will report on the weather, not from the safety of a BBC Studio – but from 15,000 feet in the air as she paraglides into the heart of an enormous Cumulus cloud. How vast is it? How much does it weigh? What does it taste like? Carol gets her head in the clouds to find out.





Bang Goes the Winter Weather

10 03 2011
Bang Goes the Theory

Image via Wikipedia

A special hour-long edition of Bang Goes the Theory, exploring winter weather will be broadcast on BBC One at 8pm this evening.

The Met Office provided science advice and guidance as well as facts and figures about the weather over the past few winters to the producers of the programme.

The BBC says: “This special sees the team set up camp in their very own weather workshop. Their mission is to get under the bonnet of our winter weather and explain it as never before. Dallas, Liz and Jem find out first-hand what it feels like to stand in one of our worst British rain storms and to have a blizzard smack you right in the face, as they challenge their ingenious weather chamber to recreate the conditions of two recent big storms in order to really experience how much of a punch those weather events packed. And in a genuine Bang first, they attempt to make cloud, rain and snow in the studio and from scratch.”

The programme is now available to watch on BBC iPlayer and is available until Thursday 17th March.





Climate figures for December 2010 and the year 2010

4 01 2011

There is widespread interest in the cold weather through December 2010 and what this means for UK climate statistics.

Following early statistics up to the 28th December  issued between Chrismas and New Year, the Met Office will issue provisional statistics that cover the whole of December and 2010 on Wednesday 05th January on the Met Office website.





Diary: 18-20 Nov – First Anniversary of Cumbria Floods

11 11 2010

Heavy and persistent rain caused widespread flooding in Cumbria, an in particular in the town of Cockermouth where during the night of 19–20 November 2009 over 200 people in Cockermouth were rescued from their homes by the emergency services.

One year on, we take a look at how the extensive flooding in Cumbria  (case study) was made easier to deal with because of the warnings from the joint Met Office and Environment Agency Flood Forecasting Centre (FFC), and how developments in weather forecasting technology are helping us provide earlier warning of such extreme weather.
 
 




Walkers crisps work with Met Office for latest promotion

21 10 2010
Guess where it will rain & win £10 © Walkers.

Guess where it will rain & win £10 © Walkers.

Walkers crisps are launching a new promotion at the moment highlighting the importance of the British weather for their potatoes.  The promotion allows the public, having got a voucher code from a packet of Walkers crisps, to log on to the website and have a go at guessing where across the UK or Ireland it might rain during certain three hour periods.  If you are right then you win £10 or €10.

We are using our expertise to support Walkers by providing rainfall data to validate competition entries. Walkers have decided that if it has rained 1 mm or more in your chosen grid, you will win. To reach 1 mm or more of rain, you are looking for continuous rain for three hours that you can readily feel on your face and will make the ground wet, or a slight shower that lasts for 30 minutes and causes puddles to form. It is worth remembering that a steady drizzle of three hours may not actually give 1 mm.

Walkers use home-grown potatoes to produce their crisps and weather forecasts are essential to food production. As the UK’s official weather service the Met Office plays a vital role in helping UK agriculture.

The Met Office will use the UK weather radar network, which is used to measure how much rain is falling at a given time. This records the rainfall over the Walkers map of the UK and Republic of Ireland every five minutes within each three-hour timeslot available. In order to confirm 1 mm or more of rainfall has fallen over your chosen grid-spot during your selected three-hour timeslot, several radar accumulation points are averaged together across your chosen 4 km2 area. Radar observations provide the best way of observing rainfall across the whole of the UK. Radar makes an estimate of rainfall over an area that is then processed to give a total over 4 km2 areas. Although the radar is very good it can not be 100% accurate.

Forecasting for the UK is very difficult as it has very changeable and varied weather. This is a daily challenge which Met Office forecasters rise to, making them amongst the best in the world. No weather forecast can ever be 100% accurate, especially when forecasting rain to 4 km2, but the Met Office provides the best advice possible. Using the forecasts on our website can increase the chance of you picking the right rainfall spot.

The competition runs until the middle of next month and you can find out more about how we are helping on the Met Office website





Global land temperature – a new approach

7 09 2010

Today sees the start of an international workshop to initiate development of a new suite of global land surface temperature datasets hosted at the Met Office in Exeter.

In February 2010, after active discussions over a number of years within the climate science community, the Met Office proposed the development of such a record at a WMO Commission for Climatology meeting in Turkey. The meeting endorsed this proposal and this workshop is the initial meeting and invitations have been extended to the international community to work together in developing and delivering this ambitious goal.

The International Organising Committee is chaired by Peter Thorne and consists of scientists from a range of disciplines; among them statistics, scientific measurement, modelling, IT experts and economics.

Peter Thorne explains the aims and aspirations of the workshop taking place this week.

Earlier this year, Nature published an article written by Peter Stott of the Met Office and Peter Thorne of the Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites, explaining the rationale behind the proposal and how it might work – see http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/conference/surftemp/SurfTempWorkshop_background_report.pdf.

The workshop follows international recognition of the emerging requirement in recent years for a more comprehensive temperature record. The initiative taken by the UK Met Office in its specific call to World Meteorological Organization (WMO) means it is accordingly co-sponsored by WMO Commission for Climatology, the World Climate Research Program, and the Global Climate Observing System.

The aims of the workshop are to create an agreed international framework to move forwards. As yet that framework is not certain and it would be wrong to pre-determine outcomes but the key over-arching aims are likely to be:

  • Improved databank of raw data with better sampling in space and time, better station history information and version control.
  • A suite of verifiable datasets from that databank meeting certain minimum scientific requirements that are independently produced.
  • Fundamental assumptions need to be questioned.
  • Creation of a consistent set of test cases against which to assess the datasets and a consistent benchmarking exercise.
  • Creation of tools to use and analyse the data to support decision making. 
  • The workshop is an exercise in climate science openness and is truly international with every effort made to gain input in advance from non-participants.

In this initiative surface temperatures are the focus but it is important to recognise that further variables need to be considered at a later stage. Temperature alone is not climate and this represents the start of a much broader effort to better characterise the observational record to meet 21st Century societal requirements.





BBC Radio 4 – Uncertain Climate

1 09 2010

In a special Radio 4 series the BBC’s Environmental Analyst Roger Harrabin questions whether his own reporting – and that of others – has adequately told the whole story about global warming. 

He finds that the public under-estimate the degree of consensus among scientists that humans have already contributed towards the heating of the climate , and will almost certainly heat the climate more, but he also finds that politicians and the media often fail to clearly show the uncertainties in how our climate may change in the future.

This two-part report speaks to some of the leading players in climate science, and the Met Office has contributed to the programme with Dr. Vicky Pope appearing in part two of the series.

Episode one is available on BBC iPlayer at the moment and episode two airs next Monday 6th September, 9am on BBC Radio 4 FM.





Met Office on Newsnight

23 08 2010

On BBC Two tonight, Newsnight Science Editor Susan Watts will be examining claims by senior climate scientists that global warming is a “major contributing factor” (Dr Ghassem Asrar, director of the World Climate Research Program). As part of this Susan will be asking Met Office Chief Scientist, Prof Julia Slingo what role, if any, climate change has played in this disaster, whilst our forecasters at the BBC Weather Centre explain more behind the science of the monsoon and the developing La Nina.








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