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graphs CLIMATE-UK.COM'S REVIEW OF THE BRITISH METEOROLOGICAL SCENE
MONTHLY SUMMARY
No. 675 For MARCH 2012
FOURTH WARMEST AND THIRD SUNNIEST ON RECORD; GENERALLY DRY TOO ESPECIALLY IN NORTHEAST SCOTLAND
Text Box: For a second successive month high pressure dominated the scene. This was the fourth most anticyclonic March in 140 years of records, and February and March together ranked top of the list. There were unsettled episodes around the 4th, 7th, and 17th, but these were very shortlived, and the remainder of the month was quiet and settled. From the 21st-30th the weather was exceptionally sunny and warm.

The 1st was anticyclonic but a south to southwesterly flow developed on the 2nd/3rd, and on the 4th a small but active depression crossed southern Britain. The opening days were mostly quiet and mild with sunny spells, though there was also some rain in Scotland and northern England. A rain-belt crossed most districts on the 3rd, though there was very little in the south, but heavier rain fell on the 4th over much of England and Wales. In the rear of the depression the rain turned to snow for a time, with small accumulations above 200m. The day's maximum at Thorncliffe (Staffs) was just 3.3C. The rain continued in East Anglia on the 5th and at first on the 6th, with 46mm at Norwich and 50mm at Elham (Kent) in 48 hours. 

Later on the 6th a deep depression headed past Iceland bringing wet and windy weather to most districts but especially to the north and west. Cluanie Inn (Wester Ross) collected 44mm of rain, while a gust of 57kn logged at Lerwick (Shetland) was the highest in an otherwise quiet month. Another deep depression tracked past the Faeroes on the 8th bringing further heavy rain to western upslopes, including 44mm at Kinlochewe (Wester Ross), but pressure was by now high near southern England. During the 9th and 10th an anticyclone became established over England, and remained slow-moving until the 14th. It was dry practically nationwide between the 10th and 14th, apart from a little sporadic rain in the Western and Northern Isles, but there was often extensive low cloud and hill fog, and where these persisted all day temperatures remained slightly below the seasonal norm. On the sunnier days, though, it became decidedly warm, with 19.2C logged at Southampton on the 11th and 19.0C at Gravesend/Broadness on the 15th. A sluggish southwesterly flow developed on the 15th and 16th, and a shallow depression affected England and Wales overnight
Text Box: 17th/18th, bringing sporadic outbreaks of rain to many districts, while temperatures between the 16th and 18th were rather below average and early on the 18th the temperature dropped to -8.5C at Braemar (Aberdeenshire).

High pressure returned to southern Britain on the 19th with a widespread early frost in eastern, central and southern districts, and the day was quite sunny over England and Wales. A moist southwesterly airflow over northern Britain brought another bout of heavy rain to western slopes, with 60mm in 48h at Cluanie Inn. From then until the end of the month high pressure dominated, initially located over southern England, then in the North Sea between the 22nd and 25th, over England between the 26th and 29th, subsequently transferring to the west of Ireland. The weather became dry and sunny practically nationwide with many districts becoming unseasonably warm, although onshore breezes (varying with location of the anticyclone) kept some coastal districts markedly cooler. The temperature exceeded 20C somewhere in Britain daily from the 21st to the 29th, with notably highs of 22.2C at Porthmadog (Caernarfon) on the 24th, 23.6C at Aboyne (Aberdeenshire) on the 27th, and 23.3C at Southampton on the 28th. Northern and western districts became rather cloudy from the 27th, and the cloud became rather more extensive on the 30th and 31st with a little local rain, chiefly in Scotland.

Mean maxima were generally 2.5-3.5 degC above the 1981-2010 norm but were 4.5-6.0 degC above locally in northeast Scotland. Mean minima ranged from 2.5-3.0 degC above in northeast Scotland to 0.0-0.5 degC below at a few spots in central and southern England. As measured by the CET, only the Marches of 1938 and 1957 were warmer, while 1948 was equally as warm. The run of eight consecutive days (22nd-29th) with highs above 20C was almost certainly a new record for March. Sunshine totals were  mostly between 140 and 180 per cent of the long-term mean except in northern Scotland and Northern Ireland, and over England and Wales the only sunnier Marches were in 1907 and 1929. Rainfall was slightly above average in the east of East Anglia and east Kent; most other areas were notably dry while parts of eastern Scotland and northeast England were exceptionally dry with just 5-10mm of rain and with none after the 6th.
                                                                                                                                             
    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   13.6   +3.4   04.5   +1.4   21.9   28   00.3   19   16   00   05   11.3   27   172   162   1910   190   1995   051   1981   23   09.8   04   025   048   1910   134   1947   03   1929   00   00   02  
  *Thorney Island   13.4   +2.2   04.2   +0.6   20.2   29   00.1   18   12   00   01   10.7   26   * 219   163   1956   207   1995   073   1964   20   08.0   04   021   044   1941   162   1947   03   1961   00   00   00  
  *Wattisham   12.3   +2.2   03.2   +0.8   19.6   28   -02.1   19   05   01   07   12.1   26   163   140   1968   201   1995   051   1975   13   13.4   05   037   080   1960   101   2008   07   1961   00   00   03  
  *Wittering   13.0   +3.5   03.3   +0.5   20.7   28   -00.2   26   09   01   04   12.0   26   168   148   1950   197   1995   042   1984   24   14.8   04   021   043   1948   097   1975   08   1961   00   00   03  
                                                                     
  *Lyneham   12.9   +3.1   03.7   +0.6   19.9   24   -02.2   06   18   02   05   11.9   27   * 178   143   1952   177   2009   057   1984   17   08.4   03   031   055   1946   149   1981   02   1961   00   00   04  
  Ross-on-Wye   14.1   +3.6   04.5   +1.2   21.4   28   -01.0   06   06   01   00   09.7   26   179   155   1915   188   1929   054   1996   05   07.0   03   012   021   1859   177   1947   <01   1938   00   00   01  
  *St Athan   12.5   +2.6   05.3   +1.5   19.4   24   00.2   06   08   00   05   11.5   29   173   137   1954   174   2003   067   1996   18   09.8   03   028   040   1954   159   1981   13   1961   00   00   00  
  Culdrose   11.8   +1.7   06.6   +2.1   19.4   29   01.7   18   04   00   07   11.0   28   156   119   1961   191   1973   072   1969   18   10.6   03   020   022   1961   164   2001   02   1961   00   00   00  
                                                                     
  *Edgbaston   12.8   +2.2   05.3   +1.5   20.1   28   00.5   06   05   00   00   10.6   26   205   205   1887   215   1893   041   1960   23   06.2   03   020   033   1887   172   1947   04   1929   00   00   01  
  *Valley   11.9   +1.8   06.4   +1.7   20.3   24   00.9   06   05   00   06   11.7   27   147   106   1946   196   1955   076   1998   24   08.0   16   019   032   1941   152   1981   13   1990   00   00   00  
  *Woodford   12.7   +3.2   03.5   +0.7   20.0   26   -02.8   06   17   03   02   11.8   26   155   146   1945   169   1948   052   1983   19   05.4   03   020   036   1942   139   1981   13   1944   00   00   02  
  *Watnall   13.3   +3.8   04.0   +1.2   21.9   28   -00.7   06   13   01   02   11.9   26   171   151   1948   179   1995   045   1984   22   10.0   17   026   052   1942   143   1947   06   1961   00   00   04  
                                                                     
  *Leeming   13.5   +3.9   02.4   -0.5   21.2   28   -04.4   06   21   06   02   12.0   27   * 189   174   1945   164   2009   036   1996   26   07.4   04   013   028   1945   113   1947   03   1953   00   00   02  
  *Boulmer   11.8   +2.9   04.3   +1.8   21.1   28   -00.8   06   09   01   01   11.3   27   * 188   161   1945   178   1997   031   1964   22   02.8   04   009   016   1945   119   1947   08   1953   00   00   00  
  *Eskdalemuir   11.5   +3.7   02.3   +1.2   20.1   27   -03.9   06   18   10   05   11.3   27   129   136   1911   185   1929   044   1936   18   18.6   06   060   051   1911   282   1989   17   1944   00   00   05  
  *Bishopton   12.1   +2.5   04.9   +2.2   20.3   27   -00.7   06   09   02   06   12.1   27   135   134   1921   155   2003   039   1936   19   10.6   06   048   068   1921   180   1994   17   1969   00   00   01  
                                                                     
  *Leuchars   13.1   +4.0   04.1   +1.4   21.4   27   -03.4   06   21   04   00   12.0   30   177   150   1922   187   1929   049   1964   22   03.8   03   011   024   1922   103   1958   07   1973   00   00   00  
  *Dyce   13.1   +4.6   04.0   +1.9   21.6   25   -02.9   06   15   03   03   11.7   30   164   149   1941   192   2003   030   1964   20   05.2   03   015   026   1941   127   1958   07   1953   00   00   01  
  *Stornoway   10.7   +1.9   05.9   +2.4   16.6   26   -00.2   18   05   01   08   10.8   27   108   089   1880   172   1911   055   1938   10   09.0   06   050   057   1943   206   1990   19   1969   00   00   00  
  *Aldergrove   12.2   +2.3   05.3   +2.0   19.8   27   -00.7   18   11   01   08   11.8   26   123   111   1927   181   1929   053   1996   20   04.2   06   020   036   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 record    
  sunshine figures are from a nearby site.      
  Averages are for 1981-2010.