Following a below-average year in 2010, 2011 was a remarkable transformation: the warmest year on record at Durham, equal to 2004 at 9.96°C (to two decimal places) but 10°C to all intents and purposes! There was a remarkably low number of ground frosts, only 78; only 2002 (71), 2003 (77) and 2004 (67) have had fewer. Only 2000 (19) and 2002 (16) have had fewer ground frosts than 2011 (20) in the second half of the year. Nine months were below average in 2011 so the low rainfall total for the year was no surprise. The low total was not exceptional, however: it was only the 47th driest year at Durham in 162 years. The highest daily total of the year was on 6th August when 36.2mm was recorded (I was at a friend’s wedding that day and I can categorically state that it was the wettest wedding i’ve EVER been to). 2011 had slightly more than average hours of bright sunshine, but both 2006 and 2009 had higher totals. The sunniest day of the year turned out to be 26th May; this late spring day was better than anything that followed during the summer!
Professor Tim Burt
Department of Geography