Sunniest winter on record, following last year’s wettest, UK

This winter is set to become the sunniest since records began in 1929, in contrast to last year’s, which was the wettest ever, according to provisional statistics published by the Met Office on Friday.

The Met Office said in a statement:

“While the figures for temperature and rainfall are fairly average, it has been one of, if not the sunniest winter in UK records dating back to 1929.”

By February 25th, a total of 189 hours of sunshine had already been recorded in the UK this winter, equaling the 2001 record, but at three days before end of the meteorological winter, it will likely beat that record by approximately 7 hours.

2014-2015 winter sunshine

1 Dec 2014 to 25 Jan 2015 sunshine. (Image: Met Office)

The meteorological winter is the method used by meteorologists (weather experts) based on “sensible weather patterns” for record keeping purposes. In the Northern Hemisphere it comprises the months of December, January and February, and in the Southern Hemisphere June, July and August.

Last winter, the UK recorded a record 544 mm of rainfall, which was 65% above average. This winter, on the other hand, there have only been 375 mm, which was still above average (8%).


Dry England wet Scotland

While south, east and north-east England have had a drier-than-average winter, Scotland experienced one of the top-ten wettest winters since 1910.

Even though last winter was especially wet, many parts of the country had above-average sunshine. High rainfall counts do no always mean there is very little sun, especially if the downpours are heavy and short-lasting, and come during the night, as occurred in several eastern parts of the country.

This winter, the average mean temperature is expected to be 3.8°C (38.84°F), compared to the average of 3.7°C (38.66°F), rather colder than last winter’s 5.2°C (41.36°F).

According to February’s provisional statistics, the month was drier and slightly cooler than average.

2013-2014 winter sunshine

Winter Dec 2013 to end of Feb 2014 sunshine. (Image: Met Office)

The met office wrote regarding February:

“The month showed the variety of winter weather we can get in the UK – the first half of the month being dominated by high pressure, bringing mostly dry and settled and cold weather, while the second half of the month was more unsettled with westerly winds bringing Atlantic frontal systems.”

“The strongest winds and heaviest rain were across the north and west – with significant snowfalls across the Scottish mountains.”

On 18th February, at at Fyvie Castle in Aberdeenshire, the temperature soared to 15.6°C (60.08°F).