Cool, damp February with average sunshine: Wettest winter for 139 years

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Armagh Observatory has reported that February 2016 was wetter and slightly cooler than average, and that the 2015/16 meteorological-winter, namely December 2015, and January and February 2016, was the wettest winter since 1876/77.

This was the second-wettest winter at Armagh since daily rainfall records began at the Observatory in 1838.

Total precipitation during February was 62.8mm including four trace values, approximately 15% more than the average February rainfall at Armagh. The wettest day was the 16th, with 18.6mm of rainfall.

The mean temperature was 4.7 degrees Celsius, roughly the same as the long-term (1796 to 2010) February average at Armagh, but 0.2 C cooler than the most recent 30-year (1981 to 2010) average. The warmest day (highest maximum temperature) occurred on the 4th, with a temperature of 10.9 C; the coolest night (lowest minimum air temperature) was -3.4 C, which occurred on the 28th. Among a total of 20 nights with grass frost and 11 with nighttime air frosts there were several quite sharp ground frosts, the lowest of which (on the 28th) had a minimum ground temperature of -10.6 C. There was one morning (the 17th) with light snow cover.

The total number of hours of strong sunshine, namely 71.3 hours, was about average for February, being within 3% of both the long-term (1881 to 2010) and the most recent 30-year (1981 to 2010) averages for February at Armagh. The sunniest days were the 10th, 23rd and 28th, each with 7.3 hours of strong sunshine.

Overall, the meteorological winter was much wetter than average, warmer, and with a little less than average number of hours of strong sunshine.

Total winter precipitation was 380.8mm (15 inches), including 4 trace values, which all occurred in February. This is approximately 85% more rainfall than average at Armagh, making this winter the second wettest at Armagh since daily rainfall records began in 1838. The three wettest winters at Armagh are now 1876/77 (391.8mm), 2015/16 (380.8mm) and 1914 (344.4mm).

The mean winter temperature, namely 6.1 C, was nearly 1.7 C warmer than the long-term winter average at Armagh, and 1.2 C warmer than the most recent (1981/82 to 2010/11) 30-year average. This was the warmest winter for four years and the 12th warmest meteorological winter on record. The total number of hours of strong sunshine was 154.4, which is close to the winter average at Armagh.

These data refer to observations at Armagh Observatory, which has been recording the weather at Armagh since 1795.