Published on 8 Jan 2016

10 fascinating facts about the recent record breaking weather

The beginning of January has picked up where December left off, with heavy rain and flooding affecting the UK – North East Scotland being the latest hit.

There’s no doubt we’ve all noticed just how unusual the weather has been during the past month or so, but it’s not until you look at the facts that you see just how extreme it has been.

I thought I’d gather and put into perspective some of the impressive weather statistics and records that have come to light.

storm_desmond_EUMETSAT_wp

1 – Wettest calendar month on record

December 2015 was the wettest calendar month on record for the UK, with rainfall almost double the dec_wet_MO_wpaverage for the whole country, at 91 per cent above normal. Records date back to 1910.

2 – Wettest December on record

As would be expected given the above statistic, it was also the wettest December on record for the UK as a whole. The nations of Wales and Scotland had their wettest December on record, with 217 per cent and 215 per cent of their average monthly rainfall respectively.

3 – More than 1 metre of rain in a month

Between the 1-28 December, Capel Curig in Conwy had more than a metre of rain (1012mm), smashing the previous record of 613mm. This is before even adding on the last three days of rainfall for the month – the details of which have yet to be finalised.

4 – Warmest December on record

December 2015 was the warmest December on record for the UK, with mean temperatures (a dec_temp_MO_wpcombination of day and night temperatures) 4.1C above the average. The previous record was 6.9C, set back in 1934.

5 – Most anomalously warmth month on record

December 2015 was also the most anomalously warm month on record for the UK. The mean temperatures were so much warmer than normal that they were what would normally be expected during April.

6 – Three named storms hit the UK and Ireland

Three named storms hit the UK and Ireland in December – Desmond, Eva and Frank. Desmond and Frank were the most severe of the storms, bringing significant flooding across northern England, north Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

7 – Sixth wettest year on record

CARLISLE, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 06: A rescue team helps to evacuate people from their homes after Storm Desmond caused flooding on December 6, 2015 in Carlisle, England. Storm Desmond has brought severe disruption to areas of northern England with dozens of flood warnings remaining in place. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)The copious amounts of rain in December sent 2015 into the top ten wettest years on record for the UK, meaning that almost all of the wettest years on record have occurred since 1998.

8 – Significant lack of frost

The well above average temperatures have resulted in a lack of frost away from upland areas in the north. On average, the UK as a whole would normally experience 11 days of frost in December, but last month there were just three.

9 – Significant lack of sunshine

Following the dullest November on record, December continued with a significant lack of sunshine, with just 73 per cent of what would normally be expected.

10 – Wettest January on record for Aboyne

Aboyne, Aberdeenshire has already had its wettest January on record only eight days into the month. CARLISLE, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 06: A rescue team helps to evacuate people from their homes after Storm Desmond caused flooding on December 6, 2015 in Carlisle, England. Storm Desmond has brought severe disruption to areas of northern England with dozens of flood warnings remaining in place. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)215mm of rain has fallen, smashing the previous January record of 186mm.

There has been much talk about the causes of such extreme weather, with climate change and El Nino as notable contenders – as discussed in my recent blog.

Thankfully, next week is looking drier and colder for much of the UK, with the possibility of some snow.

You can get the latest forecast on the Channel 4 Weather website. I’ll also be posting regular updates on Twitter – @liamdutton

Satellite image: Eumetsat

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7 reader comments

  1. Robert says:

    Daffodil shoots have appeared on our lawn in Northumberland and are a couple of inches high.

  2. Ashley Haworth-roberts says:

    By the way, December 2015 was much warmer in England and Wales (alone) than was May 1996. 9.3 C compared to 8.6 C.

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/pub/data/weather/uk/climate/datasets/Tmean/ranked/England_and_Wales.txt

  3. Chris Phillips says:

    Quote: New Year Message (updated 1-1-16)
    The wild extreme weather events and rapid weather changes and contrasts through 2015 are a direct consequence of the wild jet stream era (also termed Mini-Ice-Age because of the very cold consequences at times) the world is now in and vindication of the solar activity (with lunar modulation) theory of weather and climate.
    These events are the wrong type of extremes for the CO2 theory which requires a benign northward shifted (in North hemisphere) jet stream. The reality** of weather events in 2015 is a decisive defeat for the theory of CO2-based climate change – a theory which is now clearly delusional and of which all key propositions have failed.
    Our task in 2016 is to bring accounatble evidence-based science and policies back to the forefront of world political and scientific activity and terminate the dishonest anti-science of CO2-based so-called man-made climate Change.
    Throughout 2016 we will consistently work with others to challenge the protagonists of the CO2-based theory of ‘Global-Warming / ‘Climate-Change’ to evidence-based debate in any forums and to bring ethics, integrity and accountability back into science.
    **See this article: http://www.weatheraction.com/docs/WANews15No30.pdf

    1. JIMJFOX says:

      So your entire ‘argument’ rests on some “CO2 theory which requires a benign northward shifted (in North hemisphere) jet stream”?

      Oh, how ‘scientific’! Climate change is infinitely more complex and predictions all but impossible;
      all we can use is the EVIDENCE which suggests global changes at rates far too fast to be explained by natural forces.

      Yours is a conspiracy theory founded on willful deceit- believe it if you must but don’t waste your time foisting it on rational people.

  4. PM says:
  5. Ashley Haworth-roberts says:

    Christopher Booker does not appear to be a meteorologist. So why do you assume he (a) knows what he is talking about and (b) does not have an agenda (somewhat similar to the ‘lunar’/’lunacy’ agenda of Piers Corbyn):
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Booker

  6. Daren Easey says:

    I remember winters helping my dad on the milk rounds 38 years ago and the bottles would be sticking to my finger and the cream would be coming out of the tops of the bottles. April we would have had rain so much the waterproof didn’t help thanks Daren.

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