UK Lookback - February 01, 2015
January 2015 Lookback
Coldest only since 2013

By Philip Eden


The main features of the month were:

  • Coldest only since 2013
  • Sunniest since 2003
  • Notably mild spell from 5-14th but appreciably colder afterwards with several severe frosts


The pressure for January 2015 was 12mbar below normal in Shetland but 2mbar above in Cornwall and south-west Ireland. The anomalous flow over the British Isles was north-westerly. All parts of the country had near normal temperatures but there was a notably mild spell from the 5th to the 14th after which it turned appreciably colder from the 16th to the 22nd and during the last three days of the month. Scotland (especially the north and west), north-west England, Wales and south-west England were wet especially but most of eastern and central England were dry with rainfall percentages ranging from 176 in western Scotland to 65 in the English Midlands. Sunshine percentages ranged from 87 in north-west England to 154 in the East Anglia.


Mean maximum temperature during January ranged from 3.6°C at Aviemore (Inverness-shire) and Braemar (Aberdeenshire) to 10.0°C at St Mary's (Isles of Scilly), while mean minimum temperature varied between minus 1.3°C at Cromdale (Morayshire) and Aboyne (Aberdeenshire) and 8.3°C at St Mary's (Isles of Scilly). Mean temperatures were between 0.0 and 1.0degC above average over England and Wales but 0.0 to 0.5degC below the long-term average in Scotland and Northern Ireland. The Central England Temperature (CET) of 4.8°C was just 0.3degC above the mean for 1981-2010; this was the coldest January only since 2013, but in the last 100 years 68 Januarys were colder, one had the same mean temperature, while 31 were warmer.


The highest maximum at a standard site (i.e excluding rooftop and mountain sites) in the UK was 16.5°C at Exeter airport (Devon) on the 9th, while the lowest minimum was minus 12.5°C at Loch Glascarnoch (Wester Ross) and Tulloch Bridge (Lochaber) on the 19th. The lowest daytime maximum was minus 5.6°C at Loch Glascarnoch (Wester Ross) on the 19th, while the warmest night occurred during the early hours of the 10th with a very high minimum for January of 12.8°C at Exeter airport (Devon).


Rainfall averaged over England and Wales during January in a record stretching back to 1766 (including an estimated value for the 31st) was 100.6mm which is 100 per cent of the average for the standard reference period 1981-2010; this was the lowest January rainfall only since 2013; in the last 100 years 61 Januarys were drier while 39 were wetter. The equivalent figures for Scotland were 162mm and 167 per cent of the normal amount, and for Northern Ireland 86mm and 95 per cent. Monthly totals at routinely-available sites ranged from the large total of 529mm at Cluanie Inn (Wester Ross) to 17mm at Waddington (Lincs). The heaviest daily fall was 77mm on the 14th at Cluanie Inn (Wester Ross).


Sunshine averaged over England and Wales during January (including an estimated figure for the 31st) was 77.5 hours which is 160 per cent of the 1981-2010 mean, making this the sunniest January since 2003, and in the last 100 years only three Januarys were sunnier while 97 were duller. The equivalent figures for Scotland were 46 hours and 100 per cent, and for Northern Ireland 50 hours and 122 per cent. Largest total in the UK was 95 hours at Durham (Co Durham), and the smallest was 14 hours at Eskdalemuir (Dumfriesshire).


Strongest winds during December occurred on the 9th with gusts to 111mph at Loch Glascarnoch (Wester Ross) and to 106 mph at Stornoway (Western Isles).


By Philip Eden


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