Climate Comment for January 2021 Another Warm January

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Submitted by Bill Caulfeild-Browne

Where are the minus twenties we used to get? In the early days of my weather station we could count on days -20C or colder in each of January, February and March. Since then we’ve generally had only one month each year getting that cold – and in several years it never got that frigid at all. 2020 was one of those years and so far 2021 is following suit. Our mean for the last month was 3.7C above the long-term record.

The first three weeks were unseasonably warm with the mercury hovering between -6.6C and +3.2C. On the 4th and 5th it didn’t get below freezing. By the 21st the mean temperature was a whopping 6.6C above normal but reversion to the mean started with a -9.2 on the 22nd and a -12.6 recording on the 23rd. The coldest we got was just -13.7C on the 28th.

Tobermory continues to lead a charmed life for snowfall. Despite several predictions of doom, the major off-lake storms have struck areas south of us. Precipitation was just 22 mm in terms of water. The normal is 55 mm. The driest we’ve had was in 2011 (10 mm) and the wettest in 2013 (148 mm). Winds were a bit light for winter with an average of 11.3 kms/hr and a maximum gust of 52 kms/hr.

Sunshine was abundant – probably the sunniest January I have recorded. We had ten days of full sunshine and only five with none at all. This is counter-intuitive – one usually associates sunny days with cold northern high pressure areas but it just wasn’t that cold!

Thank you Mother Nature – let’s repeat in February.