Climate Comment for February and March 2020: A Very Warm Winter

Submitted by Bill Caulfeild-Browne

I was away for most of February and March so the information in this column is derived almost entirely from my weather station’s computer records with little subjective comment from me.

January, as reported in my last article, was 3.8C above normal. This “warmth” continued into February which was 2.6C above normal and then into March, 2.9C above normal. None of these on their own constitute records for their respective months, but together they are unusual. We have to go back to 1998 and 2012 to see similarly warm patterns.

Also remarkable is February’s lowest temperature -18.6C. We almost always get some lows in the -20 to -25C range. March’s low was -10.7C, again a fairly mild low.

The high for February was 4.6C and for March was 8.2C, on the 29th. Winter seems to giving way to spring quite quickly.

Precipitation was lower than usual for February with snow equivalent to 26 mm. of water. The norm is around 39 mm. March made up for that with 64 mm. against a norm of 44 mm. Most of this came down as rain, not snow. The wettest day was the 13th with 15 mm. – I deduce this was rain as the high temperature that day was 5.9C.

It looks as if February was a pretty windy month, predominantly from the south as would be expected with warmer-than-usual temperatures. The highest wind speed was 68 kms/hr on the 18th. March was calmer on average but with a high speed of 63 kms/hr. These speeds may be understated as my anemometer is somewhat protected from the south.

We returned from Africa (where we had temperatures as high as 44C!) to find bulbs coming up in our garden. I just hope we don’t get a really cold snap that wipes out the early growth, as happened to the apple crop a few years back.

We’re in quarantine as I write this and I wish all my readers a safe time in the next few months. Be well.