March 2014 was a contrast to last year. The March average Reigate temp in 2014 was a warm balmy 8.7c, while 2013 it was only 3.5c. March 2013 was cold, frosty and snowy, while March 2014 was warm and mostly dry and with good spells of sunshine. March was also a welcome break from the winter storms as the jetstream broke up and meandered weakly north and south of the UK, rarely bringing in purposeful storms.
Like Reigate. the March Central England Temperature is 2c above the long term average at 7.6c. This follows Jan and Feb 2014 being around 2c above average too. This makes 2014 a significantly warm year so far for the UK. Should these anomalies continue 2014 would be several degrees above average, making it a contender to be the warmest year on record. However, this is extremely uncertain because we have a long way to go and the remaining months might work out being cooler! It is quite likely that 2014 warmth will decline at some point, though when is not clear.
Here are the raw figures for Reigate March 2014 (2013 in brackets).
Tmax 19.8c (16.1c)
Tmin -1.2c (-3.4c)
Average 8.7c (3.5c)
Total rain 29.9mm (67mm)
After the wild winter weather, March 2014 had no real weather drama in Reigate… it was calm with only moderate gusts of wind mid-month and mostly dry and quite sunny, with a total of 146.6 hours on our sunshine recorder.
Notable features of the month included several episodes of splendid altocumulus wave clouds. These are caused when an upper air flows over hills or is caused to ruffle over an airstream below and the air starts to undulate. In the upward undulations the air cools and condenses forming (more) thicker cloud… the bands of cloud you see are usually perpendicular to the air stream.
A few interesting cumulonimbus showers with some thunderclaps occurred at times later in the month yielding some moderate spells of hail and also some fabulous double rainbows in the Spring sunshine. The other notable feature came at the very end of the month when a Saharan dust storm covered the Southern UK and created a pollution incident exceeding 10/10 on the pollution scale in several parts of the UK including East Anglia.
The month was dry enough to allow some weather spring-cleaning. We continued the process of calibrating the rain gauge using our own bespoke “trickle-ometer” courtesy of Ed in the physics department who developed our “calibratometer” to drip a tiny regulated flow into the VP2 buckets to get an accurate representation of a rainfall event without overwhelming the tipping buckets. Results are not conclusive enough yet to warrant changing the VP2 settings… we need to run some more calibrations to calculate a precise % difference. Meanwhile, we are using the CoCoRAHS rain gauge to check our readings and also a sister station in Reigate to cross-check measurements for the town to get a reliable average for rainfall. Raw figures are available on the data page here.
As the wise calibration joke goes… “a man who has one watch knows the time, a man who has two watches is never sure”… the same is true for all weather instrumentation and calibration.