DURHAM WEATHER FORECAST
Durham Weather Forecast for The Next 7 Days

2006 Yearly Summary

2006 was a remarkable warm year, the second warmest on record at Durham since 1850, only a negligible 0.02°C cooler than 2004. Every month except March was above average, with the year as a whole 1.4°C above the 1961-1990 mean. The warmest ten years at Durham are now as follows (to two decimal places):

Year and average temperature

2004 – 9.96°
2006 – 9.94°
2003 – 9.88°
1949 – 9.83°
2002 – 9.80°
1990 – 9.75°
2005 – 9.71°
1945 – 9.66°
1999 – 9.61°
1989 – 9.58°

Given the length of the Durham temperature record, it is remarkable that two months in 2006, July and September, proved to be the warmest on record, previous records being broken by a wide margin. Rainfall in 2006 was below average, and would have been an exceptionally dry year except for the wet months of May, November and December. Overall, it was only the 42nd driest year on record, dry but not remarkably so. Despite the warmth and below average rainfall, hours of bright sunshine were only just above average.

The extreme warmth of recent years is most remarkable: only five months in the last sixty have fallen below the monthly mean (calculated for the period 1961-1990) and even if the 1971-2000 means are used instead, this only increases to seven. Even if there remains debate about the exact causes, evidence of global warming in Durham is now unarguable.

http://community.dur.ac.uk/durham.weather/weather-data-2006-2010/the-weather-at-durham-in-2006/

Professor Tim Burt
Department of Geography
Durham University

2005 Yearly Summary

Only 1990 and 1949 have rivalled the last four years for warmth. The extraordinary warmth of the last few years is reflected in the fact that, if we take the average of every 10-year period (1850-59, 1851-60, etc.), then the last decade (1996-2005) is the warmest on record and the first to average 9.5°C. As it happens, the coldest ‘decade’ on record at Durham is 1879-1888 (7.7°C); an increase of just over 1°C in a little over a century does not sound much, but is in fact a huge increase compared the ‘historical’ record. Moreover, an increase of 1.1°C has occurred since the 1960s, a remarkable rate of warming. The mean maximum temperature for 2005 was 8th highest since 1950, while the mean minimum was 3rd highest. 2005 was a dry year, but not remarkably so, only 112th driest in 154 years, and some 40mm wetter than the rather drier 2003. Sunshine hours ended up just above average, having lagged behind for most of the year. It was a little windier than normal, but in this regard the most remarkable event was the damaging winds on 8th January.

http://community.dur.ac.uk/durham.weather/weather-data-2001-2005/the-weather-at-durham-in-2005/

Professor Tim Burt
Department of Geography
Durham University

2004 Yearly Summary

2004 was another remarkably warm year, the warmest on record at Durham since records began in 1850, the mean of 9.95°C beating the previous highest (2003) by 0.05°C. It was quite a wet year too, the total of 726mm ranking 110th in a series of 153. There were far fewer hours of bright sunshine than normal, however; the total was the 16th lowest since 1881, making 2004 a dull and disappointing year in that respect. It only goes to show that global warming does not necessarily mean unbroken sunshine!

http://community.dur.ac.uk/durham.weather/weather-data-2001-2005/the-weather-at-durham-in-2004/

Professor Tim Burt
Department of Geography
Durham University

2003 Yearly Summary

For the year as a whole, 2003 was:

1) The warmest year in Durham since records began in 1850, with a rounded-up figure of 9.9°C, 1.3°C above the long-term mean (I continue to use the 1961-90 mean; the overall mean for 1850-2003 is 8.5°C). The 2-decimal figure for 2003 of 9.88°C beats 2002 (9.80°C) and 1949 (9.83°C). Remarkably, the monthly running mean never edged above 10°C, but stayed pretty close all through the year! It is worth noting that the mean for the 1960s (a relatively ‘cold’ decade) was only 8.3°C; 2003 was more than 1.5°C above that level therefore, a remarkably large and rapid warming in less than four decades.

2) The driest calendar year in Durham since records began (this time the complete record runs from 1852), 2003’s 408.8mm just falling below the 1989 total of 415.3mm. As noted above, only three months recorded totals (just) above average. The total is a huge 240.2mm below the long-term average for Durham – no wonder there are real worries about severe water shortages in 2004.

This is not, however, the driest 12-month period on record at Durham, but only the 12th driest in a series of 1813 12-month periods since December 1852. Years when there were even lower 12-month totals include 1905, 1949, 1959, 1973 and 1989; the driest 12-month period on record at Durham was from August 1904 to July 1905 inclusive when only 362.5mm rainfall was recorded.

3) The 12th sunniest year in Durham since 1882, but still more than 150 hours less than the record holder, 1989.

http://community.dur.ac.uk/durham.weather/weather-data-2001-2005/the-weather-at-durham-in-2003/

Professor Tim Burt
Department of Geography
Durham University

2002 Yearly Summary

Overall, 2002 was a very warm year in Durham, the 2nd warmest on record (9.80°C) since 1850 and beaten only by 1949 (9.83°C). Only October fell below the long-term monthly mean. As noted above, in June and September, the 12-month running mean exceeded 10°C for the first time in Durham’s history. Of the 14 highest annual means, 8 have occurred since 1990. 2002 was also a wet year (734.2mm), well above the long-term mean (649mm). However, unlike temperature, the annual rainfall total was not record-breaking, ranking only 112nd highest in 151 years.

http://community.dur.ac.uk/durham.weather/weather-data-2001-2005/the-weather-at-durham-in-2002/

Professor Tim Burt
Department of Geography
Durham University

2001 Yearly Summary

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.

http://community.dur.ac.uk/durham.weather/weather-data-2001-2005/the-weather-at-durham-in-2001/

Professor Tim Burt
Department of Geography
Durham University

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