Review of 2014

   2014 was a bad year for climate sceptics, unduly warm throughout the whole year and indeed the warmest on record, albeit there were no record-breaking months for temperature, just consistently warm weather. Using Newton Rigg as the local standard (with records back to 1914), we have also seen an extremely wet winter (although not the wettest everywhere), the 2nd warmest spring, 3rd warmest April, the driest September and the 7th warmest autumn - here at Maulds Meaburn the coldest temperature fell short of -5.0°c, the first year to do so in my records - it's been a warm and interesting year!

   The year started with an unrelentingly disturbed weather pattern that saw January have the lowest air pressure in 142 of records and then February's MSLP was the lowest for any month on record and a staggering 23.7 Mb below the local average with rainfall locally over 300% of average at some sites. This saw the winter as whole (December 2013 was also very wet) to be the wettest in the Newton Rigg records (since 1910) with 566.8 mm and initially it was thought also the wettest at Appleby with 498.5 mm. It certainly was back to 1891 but then the unearthing of more records back to 1856 found that the winter of 1859-60 was the wettest.

   Here at Maulds Meaburn the winter rainfall totalled a staggering 725.9 mm with all three months exceeding 200 mm. Winter was also on the mild side with frost a rarity and just the one day of laying snow.

   After the spring of 2013 had been the coldest on record at Newton Rigg, spring 2014 just failed to become the warmest on record. A mean temperature of 8.78°c falling just short of the 8.82°c from 1990. But at 8.89°c, spring was slightly warmer here at Maulds Meaburn than at Newton Rigg.

   Whilst July was not as warm as 2013 it still managed to see the 5 days of 22nd – 26th all over the 25.0°c, but then August broke the trend and was both wetter and colder than average, the only month of 2014 to be colder than average and why the summer was only 22nd warmest in the Newton Rigg record.

   But September was spectacularly dry and settled, enduring a period of drought and became the driest September on record at all stations in Cumbria. This broke the Cumbrian record which had lasted since 1894! Appleby saw just 7.3mm and Newton Rigg with 5.6 mm was even drier, although the driest location was Walney Island with 4.8 mm. September also achieved the rare fete of being warmer than August.

   Whilst mild, October was also very wet with rain virtually every day and whilst rain also fell frequently in November it was in many respects a quiet month. But with a mean temperature of 10.4°c the autumn was very mild.

   We actually got to see some wintry weather in December albeit nothing severe and the month as a whole was relatively quiet.


   As already stated, 2014 is the warmest year on record, the 9.52°c at Newton Rigg beating 9.33°c from 1990 and then 9.31°c (2006). Of the now 14 years to have exceeded 9.0° at Newton Rigg, seven have occurred since the year 2000 with another four having occured in the 1990's.

   Using Newton Rigg's data we find that during the year only August was colder than the 1981-2010 average, with the other eleven months being warmer. Of those eleven, five (Jan, Feb, April, June and Oct') were all at least 1.0°c above average.

   Another example of the warmth of the year is that during a year Shap would expect to see an average of 74.5 air frosts, this year it only managed 38, just 51% of average!

   Newton Rigg's mean yearly temperature (mean minimum of 5.7°c and maximum of 13.3°c) was some 0.89°c above the 1981-2010 average of 8.63°c.

   Here at Maulds Meaburn the year had a mean temperature of 9.58°c (mean minimum 5.91°c and maximum of 13.25°c) - at other Met' Office sites the annual totals were:

   Shap - mean of 8.7°c   (Min' of 4.9°c and Max' 12.5°c)            Warcop - mean of 9.3°c   (Min' of 5.9°c and Max' 12.6°c)            Keswick - mean of 10.5°c   (Min' of 6.8°c and Max' 14.1°c).

   Like Newton Rigg, the mean temperature at both Shap and Warcop was 0.9°c above average, but at Keswick it was even higher at +1.2°c.


   6 months were drier than average (Mar-Apr, June-July, Sept and Nov) with 6 wetter than average (Jan-Feb, May, Aug, Oct and Dec [although December was drier than average east of Penrith]) - apart from the winter the rest of the seasons saw rainfall that was just below average at Newton Rigg. We had one period of (meteorological) drought (no rain for at least 15 days) and then two rain spells (13th Oct' to 4th Nov' + 9-26th Dec') which had rain every day.

   Rainfall totals were typically above average locally, typically in the range of 108-117%, but 2014 is only the wettest year since 2012 - local rainfall totals from Met' Office sites were:

   Newton Rigg 1079.0 mm             Shap 2029.4 mm             Warcop 975.4 mm             Keswick 1675.2 mm.

   Figures from the Environment Agency’s rainfall sites were, (figure in brackets being the yearly average for 1961-90):

   Kirkby Thore 887.8 mm (715.9 mm)         Brothers Water 3299.4 mm (2520 mm)         Nunwick Hall 947.2 mm (807.7 mm)         3919.8 mm at Seathwaite Farm (Borrowdale - 3156.3 mm).

    ‘Data kindly provided by the Hydrometry and Telemetry team of the Environment Agency (Penrith)’.

   The Newton Rigg rainfall record commenced in 1900 (3yrs data is incomplete) and average rainfall for 1900-2013 was 922.6 mm - we now find that 2014 is the 15th wettest year in that time.

   In an even longer series back to 1857, rainfall of 1062.7 mm at Appleby makes 2014 the 20th wettest year in that time. Since 1857 average annual rainfall is 889.5 mm (1981-2010 average of 892.5 mm) and the 2014 total represents 119 % of average.

   Rainfall at Maulds Meaburn was 1343.8 mm (52.9 inch) with rain recorded on 227 days of which 176 were 'wet days' (days of 1.0 mm=>). This makes 2014 only the third wettest year in seven complete years of records.

   The number of days on which rain was recorded was some 12.2 more than average. But despite it being a wetter than average year, only four days recorded an inch or more of rain and the year's wettest day was only a 'meagre' 34.3 mm, just 2.55% of the annual total.

   Using the definition of an average year of rainfall being within the range of 90-110% average, a 'Wet Year' being 110-125% and a 'Very Wet Year' being over 125%, we find that 2014 just scrapes into the classification of being a 'Wet Year'.



   Somewhat counter intuitively, with the records that were broken this year and the consistently warm months, there was no-one stand out day or event this year. As already mentioned, the year's wettest day wasn't that wet, it doesn't even make my top ten of wettest days and whilst the winter was notable, nothing sticks out as been really good or really bad. But, as 2014 is the warmest year on record, the year as a whole is the stand out feature this year.

   January was especially dull, wet and mild, although 10°c was not attained during the month, the mildness mainly due the extensive cloud cover keeping the frosts away. Apart from a few sleet showers there was no snow, frost was rare with the lowest temperature a paltry -1.3°c (24th). Rain of 219.7 mm was both frequent and heavy and whilst the wettest day (5th) was just 25.6 mm, rain in excess of 5 mm fell on 20 days.

   And then February managed to be even wetter and remarkably the third successive month to record in excess of 200mm rainfall. Like January 10°c was not attained and again for the same reason, but the rain (235.5 mm) was relentless and fell on every day of the month apart from the 28th and which mischievously saw the mild winter end with a frost. MSLP was amazingly low at 990.2 Mb the lowest on record for any month nationally and the period of the 6 - 12th was especially disturbed with the glass dropping to 957.3 Mb on the 12th which experienced a stormy night with winds gusting to 61 Mph.

   Unlike both 2012 and 2013, March chose to pass quietly. It remained mild, but MSLP was back to 'normal'. At times we experienced cool winds, notably the 25th - 31st which were also misty, but the 10-13th had seen high pressure in charge and the days were gloriously settled with wall to wall sunshine.

   April continued the mild theme, being the third warmest locally since 1914. Despite an unsettled start and end, the month was, on the whole, fairly quiet. Pressure built and the 8-20th fell dry and settled.

   Like 2013 May was generally unsettled and was both milder and wetter than average. It was especially mild by night, particularly from the 17th onwards with the mean minimum temperature for the month markedly above average. The 13-18th saw the best of the month's weather, but 20°c was only attained twice.

   Still the mildness continued with June and summer started drier than average. A mixed bag up to the 10th after which it became settled and warmer up to the 23rd and whilst only 47.1 mm of rain fell during the month, the second half of which only saw 2.0 mm of that total. However, with high pressure in the Atlantic causing an anomalous northerly flow there was no particular warm spell although the 17th - 23rd saw each day attain 20°c.

   July was another decent month that was both warmer and drier than average. Overall MSLP was average with periods of low pressure broken by brief settled spells. One such settled spell, 21st - 26th became very hot with five successive days over the 25°c mark, peaking at 28.1°c (82.6°f). Even July 2013, which was even warmer, only managed three consecutive days over 25°.

   August brought an end to a decent summer and broke the long run of warmer than average months. Low pressure was dominant and in a cool month it felt quite autumnal at times, especially during 16-25th when winds from the north were common. Only three days attained 20°c and the 1st - 10th was very wet (101.1 mm out of a monthly total of 159.8 mm) with ex-hurricane 'Bertha' passing through on the 10-11th.

   September was probably the stand out month of the year. Exceptionally dry with high pressure dominant, leading to a 17 day drought and with measurable rain (at least 0.2 mm) only recorded on three days. This gave a final rainfall total of just 10.1 mm (1.0 mm of which fell in the early hours of the 1st Oct'), the driest month yet recorded by myself and as above, the driest September on record across Cumbria. Unfortunately, whilst it was also warm, it was lacking in direct sunshine which was at best, weak and hazy.

   A change of month brought a change in the weather and October saw the rains return. Low pressure prevailed and consequently rain fell on 28 days, totalling 189.4 mm, but during the 17-19th and then the 31st mild southerlies were drawn up giving unseasonal warmth, most notably the 31st, the months warmest day at 18.67°c.

   Whilst the theme to November's weather remained unsettled and changeable, it was in some respects on the quiet side, despite MSLP some -5.5 Mb below average. Whilst falling on most days, rainfall was rarely heavy and finished below average. It certainly continued the trend of warmer than average months and was the tenth month of the year to be warmer than average.

   The first half and final eight days of December were actually colder than average but a very mild spell during the 16th-23rd with six days having maximums over 10°c saw that the month finished warmer than average. During the colder start to the month the 6th saw the year's coldest temperature of -4.9°c (23.2°f).

   Rainfall in December was below average east of Penrith and here at Maulds Meaburn, but above average to the west and north. At Seathwaite Farm it was 197.8% of average with 104.0 mm falling 22nd and an impressive 3 day total of 256.2 mm 21st-23rd.


  OTHER - Maulds Meaburn data:

   • A Mean Minimum of 5.91°c - Mean Maximum of 13.25°c

   • During 2014 snow lay on the ground* on 1 day and was seen to fall on 14 (inc' sleet) with hail falling on a 7 days.

   • Fog* was recorded only once with thunder heard on 6 days.

   • Mean cloud* cover was 82.4% with 156 days having a 100% cover* and 7 days being totally clear.

   • Mean air pressure* was 1009.7 Mb (-3.6 MB below the local average) - Lowest pressure was 957.3 Mb (8th Feb) and the highest was 1040.4 Mb (29th Dec).

   • Mean wind speed* was 7.16 Mph - the highest gust was 61 Mph (12th Feb) - the windiest day with a mean speed of 22.3 Mph was 7th Jan - and gales (a 10 minute mean wind speed of 39 Mph) was recorded on 1 day.

   • We had 26 air frosts (41.2 below average) - 89 ground frosts - with 40 days attaining 20°c+ (5 attaining 25°c) and no Ice days when the temperature remained below freezing all day.

   • The 30 cm soil temperature had a mean of 10.7°c with a low of 3.7°c (13-14th Feb) and a high of 18.8°c (26th July)

   • The 100 cm soil temperature had a mean of 10.2°c with a low of 5.0°c (15th Feb) and a high of 15.0°c (27th July to 4th August)

   • * Refers to 0900 GMT – the hour of observations.

   • Met' office data is still provisional for August onwards.

   • THANKS:- There are several people whom I would like to thank for their help, support and assistance over the past year: For the supplying of data: to Susan Sandelands and Martin Wilson of the                          Hydrometry and Telemetry team at the Environment Agency (superbly efficient). And then to a small team of observers who stand in for me when required, Alan, Margaret, Adrian and                          especially Sarah.


* 2014 TEMP'     9.58°c -- RAIN    1343.8 mm

* 2013 TEMP'     8.49°c -- RAIN    1232.1 mm

* 2012 TEMP'     8.26°c -- RAIN    1415.9 mm

* 2011 TEMP'     9.17°c -- RAIN    1305.4 mm

* 2010 TEMP'     7.42°c -- RAIN     702.9 mm

* 2009 TEMP'     8.86°c -- RAIN    1264.5 mm

* 2008 TEMP'     -- RAIN    1381.3 mm


JANUARY 2010    FEBRUARY 2010    MARCH 2010    APRIL 2010    MAY 2010    JUNE 2010    JULY 2010    AUGUST 2010    SEPTEMBER 2010    OCTOBER 2010    NOVEMBER 2010    DECEMBER 2010   

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JANUARY 2013    FEBRUARY 2013    MARCH 2013    APRIL 2013    MAY 2013    JUNE 2013    JULY 2013    AUGUST 2013    SEPTEMBER 2013    OCTOBER 2013    NOVEMBER 2013    DECEMBER 2013    REVIEW OF 2013   

JANUARY 2014    FEBRUARY 2014    MARCH 2014    APRIL 2014    MAY 2014    JUNE 2014    JULY 2014    AUGUST 2014    SEPTEMBER 2014    OCTOBER 2014    NOVEMBER 2014    DECEMBER 2014    WINTER 2014   

   © Darren Rogers 2015

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