Given problems with our rain gauge, the annual rainfall total of 566.3mm is only an estimate. However, if correct, this shows a dry year, the driest since 1996, 83mm below average and the 32nd driest year since 1852. If we measure to two decimal places, 2001 was the 13th warmest year on record since 1850, or equal 10th if we round to 9.3°C! Of the 12 warmer years, 6 have occurred since 1990. Most remarkably, the 10-year average for the 10 years up to and including 2001 is the warmest 10-year period on record at Durham since records began. For the statisticians among the readership, it is notable that this 10-year average (9.10°C) is almost exactly two standard deviations above the long-term mean (8.5°C). Clearly the last decade has been quite exceptional!
Finally, may I take this opportunity to thank Dr Helen Goldie, who retired from the Department of Geography in September, for all her care and attention over the years in looking after the meteorological records of the Durham University Observatory.
Professor Tim Burt
Department of Geography