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graphs CLIMATE-UK.COM'S REVIEW OF THE BRITISH METEOROLOGICAL SCENE
MONTHLY SUMMARY
No. 567 UNSETTLED START, THEN DRY SUNNY AND WARM For MARCH 2003
Text Box: temperature climbed from -8.9C at daybreak to 17.9C by early afternoon - a diurnal range of 26.8 degC which is just a degree short of the UK record for March.

From the 21st to the 29th highest pressure lay over central or eastern Europe, but a persistent ridge extended across the British Isles throughout, maintaining the fine weather. Most places remained dry with abundant hazy sunshine and light breezes; there was frost in many places at night, but most days were warm with 20C logged at a few sites on the 23rd, 26th and 27th. Isolated showers occurred from the 24th onwards, a few heavy ones in Cornwall and the Channel Isles on the 27th and 28th, and wintry showers affected Shetland on the 29th. 

A new anticyclone from the Atlantic brought more sunshine on the last two days of the month, but rain spread across Scotland and Ireland as March drew to a close.

Mean maximum temperatures were 2-3 degC above normal while mean minima were close to the long-term average. Overall it was the warmest March only since 1998 but the mean maximum was the highest since 1938 at a few localities. Scattered places in western Britain collected their normal amount of rain, but elsewhere it was a very dry March with only 11mm recorded at Lowestoft (Suffolk) and Bridlington (E.Yorks). Several locations in eastern England had no measurable rain after the 7th. Sunshine was generally 50-100 per cent above normal, and it was widely the sunniest March since 1929, and locally since 1907.
Text Box: A changeable southwesterly regime during the first eleven days or so gave way to anticyclonic conditions for the remainder of the month, although pressure declined slowly during the last nine or ten days. Mean sea-level pressure anomaly ranged from +4 mbar at Scilly to +8 mbar on the Yorkshire coast, with an anticyclonic/ southeasterly anomalous flow over the British Isles.

Fronts and troughs in a disturbed southwesterly flow crossed the UK almost daily between the 1st and the 11th; this period was generally mild, cloudy and windy with a good deal of rain. Wettest days were the 1st, 5th, 7th and 8th - Capel Curig (Snowdonia) recorded 112mm of rain in the 48hr beginning 09GMT on the 7th - while drier and brighter interludes occurred on the 2nd and 6th. The flow veered northwesterly on the 11th behind a trough which brought 50mm of rain to Loch Glascarnoch (Wester Ross), and it became colder in all areas with maxima between 5 and 8C, some hill snow, and there was local frost the following night.

Strong pressure rises led to the establishment of an intense anticyclone over or near to the UK later on the 12th, its central pressure reaching 1047mbar on the 15th, and it moved little until the 20th. It became sunny in western districts on the 12th and all areas enjoyed prolonged sunshine daily from the 14th onwards although some mornings were foggy. Frost occurred widely at night, but daytime temperatures soon recovered and it became warm in many areas by the 17th. Maxima above 19C were logged in Scotland and Wales, while at Altnaharra (Sutherland) the
                                                                                                                                           
    TEMPERATURE   SUNSHINE   RAINFALL        
                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                   
                                  Highest and lowest totals             Highest and lowest totals        
                                  on record for month    
Maximum fall in 24 hrs
   (beginning 09 h)
        on record for month    
Days with snow or sleet
 
Days with fog
(Vis <220 yards at 09 h)
 
                                                                                         
     
Difference from average
   
Difference from average
 
Highest maximum
   
Lowest minimum
   
No. of days with grass
  minimum below 0C
   
Days of no sunshine
 
Maximum duration
       
First year of record
         
Days of no rainfall
 (0.1 mm or less)
         
First year of record
         
Days with thunder
     
  PLACE  
Mean Maximum
   
Mean minimum
             
No. of air frosts
       
Total for month
                   
Total for month
                   
                               
% of average
                   
% of average
                 
                                                                     
                                   
Highest
   
Lowest
 
Year
             
Highest
   
Lowest
 
Year
       
             
Date
   
Date
         
Date
         
Year
         
Date
         
Year
           
                                                                     
    C     C     C     C           Hrs     Hrs       Hrs     Hrs       mm     mm       mm     mm          
                                                                                                                                           
  *Hampstead   12.9   +2.9   04.1   +1.1   18.7   23   01.0   22   14   00   01   10.3   31   188   188   1910   190   1995   051   1981   26   07.1   07   017   033   1910   134   1947   03   1929   00   00   00  
  Thorney Island   12.5   +1.4   04.5   +1.0   18.4   26   -00.9   17   16   02   02   11.1   31   181   137   1956   207   1995   073   1964   21   14.4   01   032   073   1941   162   1947   03   1961   00   00   00  
  *Coltishall   11.5   +2.3   02.4   -0.8   16.4   23   -04.5   19   19   07   04   11.3   15   169   141   1979   179   1995   059   1981   23   17.8   05   025   062   1964   090   2001   10   1973   00   00   02  
  *Wittering   12.2   +2.9   02.8   +0.2   17.5   23   -01.8   22   16   06   01   11.4   15   169   158   1950   197   1995   042   1984   23   15.2   05   028   061   1948   097   1975   08   1961   00   00   03  
                                                                     
  Lyneham   12.2   +2.6   03.2   +0.3   17.3   23   -01.9   22   13   05   03   10.9   23   168   144   1952   177   1955   057   1984   24   18.0   07   043   085   1946   149   1981   02   1961   01   00   02  
  Ross-on-Wye   12.9   +2.6   02.8   -0.3   18.0   23   -03.0   17   17   06   02   09.8   14   161   149   1915   188   1929   054   1996   21   07.6   07   027   052   1859   177   1947   <01   1938   00   00   03  
  *St Athan   12.1   +2.3   04.8   +1.1   17.6   29   00.3   20   15   00   04   11.0   31   * 174   146   1954   172   1955   067   1996   19   13.2   03   047   072   1954   159   1981   13   1961   00   00   01  
  St Mawgan   12.0   +1.8   06.6   +1.6   17.8   26   03.0   13   04   00   05   11.3   31   173   131   1944   196   1955   074   1992   19   06.4   05   030   038   1945   171   1947   04   1944   00   00   00  
                                                                     
  *Edgbaston   11.7   +2.5   03.6   +0.1   16.5   23   -02.2   17   15   03   03   10.5   14   173   171   1887   215   1893   041   1960   18   08.4   01   024   046   1887   172   1947   04   1929   00   00   01  
  Valley   11.5   +1.5   04.0   -0.6   17.4   23   -01.7   14   13   04   04   10.7   31   192   148   1946   196   1955   076   1998   19   09.0   07   037   068   1941   152   1981   13   1990   00   00   01  
  Ringway   12.6   +2.9   03.5   +0.1   16.8   23   -01.8   18   15   02   04   10.7   19   168   157   1945   169   1948   052   1983   21   10.6   08   024   062   1942   139   1981   13   1944   01   00   00  
  *Watnall   12.0   +2.7   02.9   +0.3   16.7   23   -01.3   22   13   03   01   10.8   15   155   144   1948   179   1995   045   1984   22   06.0   05   030   066   1942   143   1947   06   1961   00   00   01  
                                                                     
  Leeming   11.9   +2.5   01.6   -1.1   16.2   23   -04.1   19   19   11   00   09.9   23   163   160   1945   164   1995   036   1996   22   07.2   05   020   045   1945   113   1947   03   1953   00   00   04  
  *Boulmer   10.1   +1.3   02.9   +0.5   15.0   24   -01.9   19   13   04   00   10.5   23   158   143   1945   178   1997   031   1964   22   04.0   11   017   033   1945   119   1947   08   1953   00   00   01  
  Eskdalemuir   10.4   +2.8   00.7   -0.2   15.6   27   -06.0   19   20   14   06   10.9   30   164   191   1911   185   1929   044   1936   17   19.4   11   110   102   1911   282   1989   17   1944   00   00   02  
  *Bishopton   11.2   +1.8   02.7   +0.2   16.2   27   -01.5   17   24   07   05   11.1   30   * 155   163   1921   141   1970   039   1936   12   18.4   31   085   130   1921   180   1994   17   1969   00   00   03  
                                                                     
  Leuchars   10.8   +1.9   02.5   0.0   16.6   24   -03.6   19   15   09   04   10.5   30   160   144   1922   187   1929   049   1964   22   11.2   01   025   062   1922   103   1958   07   1973   00   00   00  
  Dyce   11.0   +2.7   01.1   0.0   16.2   24   -04.2   17   22   10   03   10.4   23   * 192   184   1941   160   1953   030   1964   22   05.8   01   017   031   1941   127   1958   07   1953   00   00   00  
  *Stornoway   09.9   +1.3   04.4   +1.1   12.4   18   -01.7   18   12   04   07   10.0   30   072   064   1880   172   1911   055   1938   09   13.8   31   076   095   1943   206   1990   19   1969   00   00   01  
  *Aldergrove   11.2   +1.4   03.1   -0.9   15.7   27   -02.7   23   17   05   03   10.7   12   166   150   1927   181   1929   053   1996   17   09.4   07   035   070   1927   122   1940   09   1953   00   00   02  
                                                                     
                                                                                                                                           
  Stations marked with an asterisk record sunshine electronically; comparisons      
  with earlier records are therefore somewhat speculative. Thorney Island's   * New high record for March    
  sunshine figures are from a nearby site.